Medicare Costs Could Rise for Some

Although Medicare premiums for 2017 won’t be officially announced until Oct 1, sources are speculating that Part B premiums will dramatically increase (up to 22%) for some in the year 2017.

This year, new enrollees shouldered the premium increase; next year, those beneficiaries with higher income levels will also be hit.

There are two reasons for this: first of all, Medicare costs are continuing to rise — that’s no surprise, as medical costs across the board are continuing to increase.  The second reason is due to the fact that there will likely be a cost of living increase (COLA) in Social Security benefits next year.

There is a protection clause that will keep premiums from going up for 70% of beneficiaries — it states that Medicare Part B premiums cannot increase beyond the COLA increase — since the increase is expected to be small, Part B premium increases will necessarily have to be paid by the 30% of beneficiaries who are ineligible for the “hold harmless” provision. Those beneficiaries include:

  • Individuals who do not have Part B premiums withheld from their Social Security Checks
  • Individuals with higher income levels
  • New Enrollees
  • Beneficiaries whose Part B premiums are paid by the state because they are covered by Medicaid(in this case, the premium increase will be picked up by the state, not the individual).

If the Medicare Trustees who are predicting the increase are correct, Part B Premiums could jump from $121.80  to $149 per month for the unprotected 30%.

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