ElderLaw News

ElderLaw News is a weekly e-newsletter that brings you reports of legal developments and other trends of vital interest to seniors and their advocates. This newsletter is brought to you by The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C., William S. Fralin, Esq., President.

Medicare Rates for 2008

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently announced that Medicare Part A costs will increase in 2008.

Medicare Part A pays for inpatient hospital care and some nursing home care, and home healthcare. The Medicare Part A deductible amount for a benefit period will rise from $992 to $1,024 in 2008. Medicare Part A co-payments will increase from $248 to $256 per day for days 61 through 90, and from $496 to $512 per day for days 91 through 150 (lifetime reserve days) per benefit period. Co-payments for skilled nursing facilities will increase from $124 to $128 for the 21st through the 100th day per benefit period. Approximately 99% of Medicare beneficiaries do not pay a premium for Medicare Part A because they have at least 40 quarters of coverage. Some seniors and persons with disabilities younger than age 65 who have fewer than 30 quarters of coverage may obtain Medicare Part A coverage by paying a premium. The premium will increase from $410 per month in 2006 to $423 per month in 2008. For seniors with 30 to 39 quarters of coverage and certain disabled persons with 30 or more quarters of coverage, the Medicare Part A premium will increase from $226 per month in 2007 to $233 in 2008.

Medicare Part B monthly premiums are set according to a sliding scale based on income. The standard premium will rise from $93.50 per month to $96.40 per month in 2008, and it will apply to beneficiaries who file an individual income tax return with income less than $82,000, or joint return filers with income less than or equal to $164,000. For beneficiaries with individual income of $82,000, but less than or equal to $102,000, and joint filers with incomes greater than $164,000, but less than or equal to $204,000, the premium will be $122.20. Beneficiaries with individual income greater than $102,000, but less than or equal to $153,000, and joint filers with income above $204,000, but less than or equal to $306,000, will pay a $160.90 per month premium. Beneficiaries with individual income greater than $153,000, but less than or equal to $205,000, and joint filers with income greater than $306,000, but less than or equal to $410,000, will pay a $199.70 per month premium. Beneficiaries with individual income greater than $205,000, and joint filers with income greater than $410,000, will pay a $238.40 per month premium. There is a separate rate chart for married beneficiaries who file separate tax returns, and who live with the spouse at some time during the taxable year. Medicare Part B pays for visits to physicians, other outpatient care, durable medical equipment, home care, certain outpatient therapies, and drugs that cannot be administered by patients at home and are thus administered by physicians in their offices. The Medicare Part B annual deductible will increase in 2008 from $131 to $135.

Low-income Medicare beneficiaries can receive assistance with the Medicare Part B premium costs, as well as the deductibles and co-payments. These beneficiaries are called “dual eligibles” because they are eligible for Medicare, and they are also eligible for Medicaid due to their low income. For Qualified Medicare Beneficiaries (QMBs), Medicaid will pay the Medicare Part B premium, deductibles, and co-payments. For Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiaries (SLMBs), Medicaid will pay the Part B premium. These dual eligible beneficiaries can also receive assistance with the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit costs.

Useful Web sites:

Center for Medicare Advocacy Inc.: www.medicareadvocacy.org

Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Fact Sheet: www.cms.hhs.gov/apps/media/press/factsheet.asp?Counter=2488

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Maryland (301) 214-2229
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The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C.

The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. is an elder law firm. We represent older persons, disabled persons, their families, and their advocates. The practice of elder law includes estate planning, estate and trust administration, powers of attorney, advance medical directives, titling of assets and designations of beneficiaries, guardianships, conservatorships, and public entitlements such as Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and SSI, disability planning, income tax planning and preparation, care management, and fiduciary services. For more information about The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C., please visit our website at http://www.chroniccareadvocacy.com.

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This newsletter is not intended as a substitute for legal counsel. While every precaution has been taken to make this newsletter accurate, we assume no responsibility for errors, omissions, or damages resulting from the use of the information in this newsletter. The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. thanks the law firm of Hook Law Center for their input to this newsletter.

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