January 11

Medicare Advantage “Do-Over” Window Will Soon Close

Medicare’s annual open enrollment period ended last month, but certain beneficiaries who regret their selection can get a do-over from now through mid-February. The Medicare Advantage disenrollment period runs from Jan. 1 through Feb. 14. During this time, beneficiaries in private Medicare Advantage plans can switch to Original Medicare and, if desired, select a Part D drug plan. This is the only move permitted: Those in Original Medicare can’t switch to Medicare Advantage and those already in Medicare Advantage can’t switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan. Unless those beneficiaries qualify for a special enrollment period, they will have to wait until the fall to make any changes to their coverage that will be effective at the start of 2018. The winter disenrollment period for Medicare Advantage may be easy to miss. It’s not accompanied by the same advertising blitz that characterizes the annual fall open enrollment, when the airwaves fill with commercials for Medicare Advantage and Part D drug plans. For those unhappy with their Medicare Advantage coverage, it’s an important chance to leave your plan, regardless of whether you enrolled years ago or during the recent open enrollment. (For tips on navigating Medicare in general, check out Money’s comprehensive guide.) Beneficiaries aren’t limited in the number of times they can take advantage of the Medicare Advantage disenrollment period during their lifetimes.

January 11

2017 Key Medicare & Medicaid Figures

Below are the most important figures seniors and their families will confront in 2017:

Medicare Part A deductible: $1316 for each benefit period

Medicare Part A hospital stay day 1-60: $0 co-insurance for each benefit period

Medicare Part A hospital stay day 61-90: $329/day co-insurance for each benefit period

Medicare Part A hospital stay beyond 91 days: $658/day co-insurance for each benefit period

Medicare Part B Premium: $134/month.

Medicare Part B Deductible: $183/year

Medicare Skilled nursing home co-payment day 21-100: $164.50/day

Medicaid Individual Resource Allowance: $2000.00

Resource Allowance for a Couple who both reside in a facility: $3,000.00

Medicaid Community Spouse Resource Allowance: Minimum $24,180.00; Maximum $120,900.00

Medicaid Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance: Minimum $2,002.50; Maximum $3,022.50

Medicaid Monthly Personal Needs Allowance: $35.00/month

Medicaid Divestment Penalty Divisor: $332.50/day

Medicaid Income Cap Limit: When is a Miller Trust required? $2205/month

Principal Residence Equity Exclusion: $840,000.00

Community Spouse Monthly Housing Allowance: $600.75

Standard Heating & Utility Allowance: $501.00

Federal Estate Tax Threshold: $5,490,000

Federal Gift Tax Exclusion: $14,000.00

NJ Estate Tax Threshold: $2,000,000.00

NJ Inheritance Tax: Class A & E exempt