5 Changes to Medicare to Watch for in 2013

If you or someone you know has Medicare, check out this list of what’s new for 2013.

1. Get help with your New Year’s resolutions.

Have you vowed to quit smoking this year? Lose some pounds? Take better care of yourself? Medicare can help!

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, people with Medicare can get many free preventive services to improve their health and well-being.

New in 2013, Medicare Part B covers eight face-to-face counseling sessions for people who want help to stop smoking. Part B also offers obesity screening and intensive counseling for those who screen positive.

Get more information on these and other services at My Medicare Matters.

2. Find an easier-to-read summary of benefits.

If you’re in Original Medicare, you’ll find your summary of benefits notice is now much easier to understand.

Last year, Medicare redesigned its quarterly summary notices for Parts A and B to use clearer language, including definitions, as well as a larger font.

The notices also include step-by-step instructions on how to check them for accuracy, make an appeal or report any potential fraud.

View a comparison of the old and new summary form.

3. Save more when you reach the prescription drug coverage gap.

People with Medicare drug coverage under Part D who enter the “donut hole,” or prescription coverage gap, will continue to see discounts in 2013, as the coverage gap continues to close by 2020.

Beneficiaries will get a 21% discount on all generics covered by their Part D plan, and a 52.5% discount on all brand-name covered drugs. These discounts are automatically applied at the pharmacy.

Learn more about costs in the coverage gap.

4. Pay less for outpatient mental health treatment.

In 2013, people enrolled in Medicare Part B will pay less coinsurance for outpatient mental health care treatment, such as psychotherapy.

The amount is 35%; Medicare pays the remaining 65%. For initial diagnosis, you’ll continue to pay only 20% of the cost, with Medicare covering the rest.

In addition, starting in 2013, Part D plans are allowed to cover benzodiazepines and barbiturates such as those used in the treatment of a chronic mental disorder, epilepsy, or cancer.

Read more about Medicare mental health services.

5. Pay slightly higher premiums for Medicare.

The cost of Medicare Part B will increase by a few dollars each month in 2013.

Check out Medicare’s handy chart to find out your monthly payment.

Don’t qualify for Medicare yet and still need insurance?

Beginning in October 2013, you’ll be able to enroll in the Health Insurance Exchanges to find individual coverage for 2014.

Learn more about how the Exchanges work.


Related Stories:

5 Reasons Raising the Medicare Eligibility Age Would Be A Disaster

President Obama Gets Us One Step Closer To Single Payer Health Insurance

Quit Smoking Now And Live 10 Years Longer, Ladies


Photo: Comstock Images


Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra4 years ago

Thank you Tracy, for Sharing this!

Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra4 years ago

Thank you Tracy, for Sharing this!

Robert H.
Robert Hamm5 years ago

Every time there is a cost log living raise people scream. They are fleecing us and getting rich. Of course that is foolishness. Every time there is a Cost of living jump the entire things is eaten up buy higher medicare costs. My dad has kept track go this for years. There is NEVER a true raise in SS. And for people saying go get a job then….try to get a job when you are 70 75

Jude Hand
Judith Hand5 years ago

Tx, always nice to hear some good stuff.

Ro H.
Ro H5 years ago


Arild Warud
Arild G5 years ago


Lynn Squance
Lynn Squance5 years ago

@ Susan T --- "Medicare is not the problem, it's the solution to rising healthcare costs. It's more efficient and costs less than private insurance."

You are so right! During Rmoney's "foreign relations" disaster . . . er . . . trip last year, he made a comment about the cost and efficiency of the Israeli healthcare system. He marvelled at it being about 9% of GDP while the US system is at 16 - 17% of GDP. And in the US there were some 23 - 30 million people without any healthcare. Interesting when you think that the Israeli system is universal healthcare, a "socialist" model. Oh, there's that word again.

I am Canadian and my provincial healthcare costs $64 per month and for me includes eye exams, prescriptions after an income indexed deductible, hospitalisation if needed, emergency visits to the hospital and unlimited visits to the doctor if needed. No dental in mine like Mary B's but that is a provincial difference.

If Republican?teabaggers truly looked at healthcare from the aspect of common good, they would change their stance. But that is impossible for them because their "idiotology" won't allow them to do that. They like the class difference and promoting class warfare. Hey, Michele Bachmann, aka Guano Girl, is preparing to introduce another bill to repeal Obamacare.

Personally, I don't think Obamacare goes far enough, but with the political reality in the US, it is a great first step. Congratulations on the new Medicare changes in 2013!

Doug G.
Doug G5 years ago

There needs to be substantial reform of the health care delivery system in this nation. So far only tokens and as usual, it is the common man getting the shaft.

Jane R.
Jane R5 years ago

Having to pay more for part B and in increase in the deductible is terrible for people on a low fixed income! Especiall with the high cost of healthcare.

Mary B.
Mary B5 years ago

Chris C.....No wonder so many in the US don't have coverage.....$1200 is beyond my scope of comprehension......and seems to not cover much......I am so glad you will soon be able to get better coverage....I think I have mentioned here before that my coverage is just over $60 for medical, dental and extended benefits (pharmacy).......Now that I am retired from a union nursing job, my union reimberses half of that (so $30/ month)........I honestly don't know anyone not covered by medical..... I hope the ACA turns out to be something that benefits many more........