The Lowdown On The 52 Percent Medicare Premium Increase

The Lowdown On The 52 Percent Medicare Premium Increase
October 22 01:00 2015

The Lowdown On The 52 Percent Medicare Premium Increase

You probably heard that there’ll be no Social Security cost-of-living increase for beneficiaries in 2016. But what you may not know is that a ripple effect of this, for millions who’ll be covered by Medicare next year, could be a 52% boost in their monthly Medicare Part B premiums (Part B is the part of Medicare that pays for doctor visits and other outpatient care).

Here’s why, what might prevent the steep Medicare hike from happening and what Medicare beneficiaries affected can do if it will occur:

Why Medicare Premiums May Soar for Some

The 50 million Social Security recipients won’t see a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in their checks — the first time since 2011 and only the third time in 40 years — because the government’s inflation measure was virtually flat during the 12 months ended September 30. In normal years, an inflation-adjusted boost in Social Security helps beneficiaries pay for the higher Medicare Part B premiums that reflect rising medical costs.

The law protects most beneficiaries when they don’t get a Social Security cost-of-living increase. Generally, if your Social Security payment doesn’t rise, neither does your Part B premium. The premium is typically $104.50 a month this year and, for most Medicare beneficiaries, will stay the same for 2016.

But 30% of Medicare beneficiaries — 7 million people — will be socked with a much higher monthly Part B premium ($159.30 in most cases) next year, unless Congress and/or the Obama administration come to the rescue. That would be the biggest single yearly hike in Medicare history….

Read full story at Forbes
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