Combating inflation’s effects on Medicare costs
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Medicare advisors say the national inflation rate hit 7.9% in February – and it is not only an issue for gas and groceries.
"It hasn’t just been an increase in the amount that you’re seeing at the pump, or when you purchase goods at the store, like eggs and dairy, but it also has hit health care really hard, because annually health care inflation is 15 to 18%," said Ari Parker, the Head Medicare Advisor and co-founder of Chapter – a health care advisory company.
Medicare costs have increased more than 14% in 2022 – putting 18% of New Mexicans, who are over the age of 65, in a financial bind.
"85% of Americans owe $170.10 for Medicare Part B,” Parker said. “This was a $22 increase from what they had been paying per month in 2021."
That is why Parker says it is important to save where you can. One way to do that is by reconfirming your coverage every year to make sure you are on the most cost-effective plan.
"Another is by going through your prescriptions down to the dosage and frequency and making sure that it’s economical to fill your prescriptions every month," he added.
Parker also said not to assume that Medicare covers all of your medical costs.
"It doesn’t,” he said. “It covers, at most, 80% of them," and that does not include dental, vision, hearing – or even prescriptions under Original Medicare.
Finally, Medicare is not automatic when you turn 65.
"It’s actually something that you have to affirmatively enroll in unless you’re taking Social Security,” Parker said. He also said there are late penalties if you miss your enrollment window.
Parker is encouraging all adults to think about Medicare, even if they are younger than 65 because the more they save now, the better off they will be later.
"Health care costs are rising,” he said. “So what we can do is budget for it now and save for it so that we have the flexibility to enjoy our golden years."