Learn about updates for 2017 health savings accounts and Medicare Part D plans.

As we head into 2017, it’s important to understand some of the changes in your health savings account (HSA) and Medicare Part D benefits.

Starting in January, most prescribers must be enrolled in Medicare, or have a valid “opt-out” request on file with Medicare, in order to prescribe Medicare Part D drugs.

A quick rundown of changes to the Medicare Part D Standard Benefit shows slight increases in the deductible, coverage limit and out-of-pocket threshold if you meet certain income and resource limits:

  • Initial deductible will increase by $40 to $400.
  • Initial coverage limit will increase from $3,310 to $3,700. Medicare beneficiaries will enter the 2017 coverage gap (donut hole) when the total negotiated cost of prescription drug purchases paid by both the member and the plan reaches $3,700.
  • While in the coverage gap, the member is responsible for paying out-of-pocket for all prescription drugs but discounts will be available, and the amount the member spends on prescription drugs while in the donut hole will count toward the member’s True Out-of-Pocket (TrOOP) threshold.
  • In 2017, the True Out-of-Pocket (TrOOP) threshold will increase from $4,850 to $4,950. Once the member reaches $4,950, the coverage gap ends.
  • The donut hole discount for some generic drugs will increase from 42% to 49%. For example, if your plan’s cost for your generic medication is $100, you will pay $51 — and that $51 you spend will count toward your 2017 out-of-pocket spending limit (TrOOP) of $4,950.
  • The donut hole discount for some name-brand medications will increase from 45% to 50% with an additional 10% Medicare subsidy. So, for example, if your plan’s cost for a name-brand drug is $100, you will pay $40. Your $40 out-of-pocket counts toward your TrOOP. Plus, the manufacturer has already discounted your drug 50%. The value of that discount also counts toward your TrOOP, saving you money and helping you get through the donut hole faster.

There are very few changes for HSA in 2017:

  • HSA contributions for an individual increased by $50 to $3,400 for individuals but remained at the 2016 limit of $6,750 for families.
  • Catch up contributions, minimum deductibles, and maximum out-of-pocket limits remain at 2016 levels.