What’s with the Medicare premium for 2016?

The press and political rhetoric are full of talk about a tremendous increase in the Medicare premium for Part B in 2016.  

However, if you currently pay the $104.90 standard premium not to worry, your premium will not increase in 2016. 

Those beneficiaries who have to worry are those new to Medicare in 2016 and anyone paying above the standard premium. In other words, higher income Medicare beneficiaries are subsidizing the vast majority who are protected by the Social Security hold harmless provision. 

But if you feel guilty by letting others pay your premium, take heart. If there is a Social Security COLA in 2017, you will get to make up what you didn’t pay in 2016. 



  1. Being in the “lucky few” who must pay the supplemental Medicare premiums, I hope you are right that “Sooner or later via COLAs the correct premium must be paid.”

    Social Security Colas have been with us for 41 years, but years with zero Cola happened only 3 times and they were all in the last 7 years. The Fed has been trying to goose the economy for years now with quantitative easing and a 2% inflation target but price inflation hasn’t been materializing (as they calculate it). A few more years with no Colas are going to get really expensive for us “lucky few.”

    It is actually 30% of Medicare beneficiaries’ who are affected.

    Medicare Part B and the Social Security trust fund are intertwined, and most seniors on Medicare have their monthly premiums deducted from their Social Security checks. Because the federal law for various reasons “holds harmless” about 70 percent of Medicare recipients from premium increases to cover unexpected rising healthcare costs, the remaining 30 percent of Medicare Part B beneficiaries suffer the consequences by being made to pay higher premiums.



    1. The 30% includes far more than just those who are paying supplemental premiums today. For example, it included on Medicaid as well as Medicare.


  2. I am 60 and I am not looking forward to Medicare and its premiums. Over $2,400 per year, for my wife and I. I am covered by Tricare as a military retiree and have been to the doctor twice in the last 20 years. All my blood tests in July 2015 were within the normal range. My EKG and Echo for my heart were normal also. My wife goes to the doctor once a year for medication management of antidepressants. She has cancelled her mammogram as we believe it is a waste, she will get one every 5 years and do self exams instead. My Grandfather lived to be 84, I am not sure he ever went to a doctor, before he got lung cancer at 80, from smoking. I do not smoke, I did in my 20s, but I could not afford to have that habit, today. My Mom is 85, type 2 controlled with diet. I think preventive care is a scam and costs way more than it is worth.


    1. Wrong on two counts. 1.. People who pay $105 directly will have to pay the increase. 2. No one “held harmless” will have to make up anything when the COLA returns


      1. You are incorrect. The premium of $104.90 should be $120.70 2016. Let’s say because of growing costs it goes to $135.00 in 2017. The premium for those not getting the increase in 2016 because of hold harmless could be as high as $135.00 in 2017 assuming there is a COLA to cover that.

        Sooner or later via COLAs the correct premium must be paid. It is not possible for the 10% or so paying the higher premium for the 90% to do so forever. Remember, the costs have gone up and beneficiaries still are required to pay 25% in the aggregate.


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