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Your Medicare coverage and costs can change each year, so it is important to understand and review your benefits. Here is an overview of what’s new in 2023.

First, let’s look at the new Medicare costs for 2023.

Part A, Part B, and Part D Costs for 2023

Because of the Inflation Reduction Act, all Part D-covered vaccines, including the shingles vaccine, will be $0 beginning in January 2023. Additionally, copays for each Part D-covered insulin product will be limited to $35. Insulin products that may be covered by Part D include insulin that is not used with a pump, along with medical supplies used to inject insulin, like syringes, gauzes, and alcohol swabs.

Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, you will also pay no more than a $35 copay for each Part B-covered insulin product, starting in July of 2023. Insulin products that may be covered by Part B include a pump and the insulin that is used with the pump.

If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan, the amount you owe varies by plan. Contact your plan for more information about your Medicare costs. If your income is limited, you may qualify for help with your Medicare costs. Contact your State Health Insurance Assistance Program, or SHIP, to see if you are eligible. Use our online SHIP Locator or call 877-839-2675 (and say “Medicare” when prompted) to find your local SHIP.

2023 also brings some changes to the Medicare enrollment periods.

The Initial Enrollment Period, also called the IEP, is the seven-month period including the three months before, the month of, and the three months following your 65th birthday month. In the past, if you enrolled later in your IEP, you would have to wait longer for your Medicare to start. Beginning in 2023, though, your Medicare will start the month after you enroll, but no earlier than the first of your 65th birthday month. This change gets rid of or shortens the gap in coverage for those who enroll later during their IEP.

The General Enrollment Period, also called the GEP, runs from January 1 through March 31 of each year. In the past, if you enrolled during the GEP, your Medicare would not start until July. Beginning in 2023, though, when you use the GEP your Medicare will begin the first of the month after you enroll. For example, if you enrolled on January 1 in past years, you would have to wait until July 1 for your Medicare to start. With these changes, if you enroll using the GEP in January, for example, your coverage will instead start on February 1.

Special Enrollment Periods, also called SEPs, are periods of time outside normal enrollment periods when you can enroll in Medicare or change your coverage. SEPs are sometimes triggered by specific life circumstances. Beginning in 2023, new SEPs have been created for people who:

  • Lose Medicaid

  • Are in an area with a disaster or emergency

  • Are released from incarceration

  • Make an enrollment mistake based on misinformation from their employer

  • Experience other exceptional circumstances

These additional SEPs will expand enrollment opportunities, reduce gaps in coverage, and prevent late enrollment penalties. Contact your SHIP to see if you are eligible for an SEP. Use our online SHIP Locator or call 877-839-2675 (and say “Medicare” when prompted) to find your local SHIP.

It may also be helpful to learn about Medicare’s new, limited immunosuppressant coverage.

After getting a kidney transplant, people with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), need to take immunosuppressant drugs for the rest of their life to prevent their body from rejecting their donor organ. Medicare covers these drugs differently depending on the circumstances of the transplant. If you have Medicare only because of ESRD, Part B may cover your immunosuppressants for 36 months after the month of your transplant, at which time your ESRD Medicare ends. Beginning in 2023, if you lose your ESRD Medicare 36 months after your transplant and don’t have other health insurance, you will be eligible for the new immunosuppressive drug benefit. This is also called the Part B-ID benefit.

Part B-ID may not be your best choice if any other insurance is available, because it only covers immunosuppressant drugs and does not include any other Part B benefits or services. You must pay a premium for the Part B-ID benefit, which is set at a percentage of the standard Part B premium. However, you can apply for the Medicare Savings Program for help with your Part B-ID costs. You can be eligible for Part B-ID even if your ESRD Medicare eligibility expired before 2023.

Finally, be aware of “new” Medicare card schemes.

While the rollout of new Medicare cards ended in 2019, scams about Medicare cards continue. You will not be getting an updated Medicare card this year, but scammers may try to convince you otherwise. For example, scammers may falsely tell you that Medicare is again issuing new cards—perhaps plastic ones, metal ones, chipped cards, or black and white COVID-19 cards. The scammers may tell you that in order for them to send your new Medicare card, you need to verify your identity, which may include your Medicare number. This is an attempt to gain your personal or financial information. Beware of unsolicited calls from anyone claiming to work for Medicare or anyone who needs you to verify your identity so they can send you an updated Medicare card.

Still have questions?

Your SHIP is here for you! You can contact your SHIP for any other Medicare-related questions or concerns you have. SHIP counselors are government funded to provide trusted, unbiased Medicare counseling at no cost to you. (Depending on your state, your SHIP may go by another name. Use our online SHIP Locator or call 877-839-2675 (and say “Medicare” when prompted) to find your local SHIP.

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