Medicare Part B premiums won’t jump as sharply as feared next year.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that the average premium will rise about $4 next year – to $109 per month from $104.90 (that’s been the premium since 2013). That’s the number for the 70 percent of Medicare beneficiaries who are “held harmless” under federal law – that is, protected from any decline in the dollar value of their Social Security benefits due to a Medicare premium increase. Although Medicare costs are rising sharply, the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for next year is just 0.3 percent. That is tamping down a larger hike in the Part B premium.
The big news yesterday affects the other 30 percent of Medicare beneficiaries – those not held harmless. The Medicare trustees earlier this year forecast a possible 22 percent increase in the monthly Part B premium for these folks, $149.
But CMS said that premium will be $134 per month, up from $121.80 this year – a 10 percent hike, instead of 22 percent. Beneficiaries affected by Medicare’s high-income premium surcharges will see their premiums rise at the same 10 percent rate (a chart showing those premiums can be found at the CMS website, along with more detail on all the premiums and deductibles for 2017).
Meanwhile, everyone will be affected by higher deductibles – the annual Part B deductible rises to $183 (from $166), while the Part A deductible increases to $1,316 per benefit period in 2017, (up from $1,288).