With the release of the Medicare Trustee report last month, we are beginning to see what the possible costs of Medicare will be in 2017. The report shows a potential 20% increase for the Part B premium, which would bring the base monthly premium from $121.80 to $149. For those on a fixed income, this could be a substantial hit to the budget.
This increase would not affect all Medicare beneficiaries, only the 25% of those who are not currently collecting their Social Security benefits. The lucky 75% are protected by the Hold Harmless Provision, which mandates that the Part B Premium cannot be increased more than the previous year’s Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA). For 2017, the COLA is projected to be 0.2%.
For beneficiaries not collecting Social Security or new to Medicare in 2017, this could have a large impact. Congress could still make changes this fall, so stay tuned for future updates.