Medicare

Budget deal cuts Medicare premium increase for 2016

If you will be new to Medicare in 2016 or if you currently pay a supplemental Medicare Part B premium, you can thank Congress for blunting a whopping premium increase in 2016.  Your premiums will go up but not nearly as much as what the law calls for. See below. Note that high earners will pay more than stated below. 

However, don’t think this election year move fixes things, it’s just a temporary manipulation of a still bad situation. The ultimate impact will be known when we see the next Social Security COLA. Premiums still must support the cost of Medicare Part B and are supposed to cover about 25% of that cost.  

About 30% of the more than 50 million seniors in Medicare Part B, which covers outpatient visits, were facing a 52% increase in premiums. The deal would prevent that, and instead raise those premiums by 15%. It would also limit an expected increase in deductibles for all enrollees.

Holding off on the increases would cost about $7 billion or more in 2016. To deal with those costs the agreement calls for the lost revenue to be covered by a federal loan from Treasury general funds and paid back over time. Beneficiaries who would have seen the 52% premium hike would pay back the loan through a $3 a month charge, although high earners could pay more. Wall Street Journal 10-28-15.

The tentative budget agreement forged by congressional leaders and the Obama administration will ward off a historic spike in Medicare premiums for the coming year, but it will nevertheless require nearly one in three older Americans to pay 17 percent more in monthly premiums for doctors’ visits and other outpatient care.

Under the agreement, Medicare’s Part B premiums for this group of roughly 15 million people will increase from the current rate of $104.90 per month to $120 per month next year, plus a $3 surcharge. After holding level since 2013, the monthly premiums for these people would have soared to nearly $160 without the legislative adjustment. Washington Post 10-28-15

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Categories: Medicare

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2 replies »

  1. The article said the beneficiaries of the break in premiums, 15 million would pay back the money with a $3 per month surcharge. This repayment will take over 12 years, just to pay back the 7 billion for 2016. Many of those people will be dead long before the money is paid back. What about future years? Are they going to raise everyone’s premium to cover the shortage? With health care cost going up every year, soon the premium increase will be more than the COLA, so we will see no real COLA in future years. I am sorry but we need to limit the costs increases to 50% of the COLA and no increase in premiums in years that have zero COLA. The hospitals and doctors in my town are doing very well, much better than most of their customers. When are they going to do their share in controlling costs? NEVER!

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  2. That’s no solution.

    It is a shift of the cost of Medicare Part B from beneficiaries to taxpayers.

    It is kicking the can down the road, potentially increasing the deficit and national debt – effectively, one more time, the R’s and D’s collaborate to dump more cost on America’s current and future workers.

    Now that they have done it once, why won’t they take the same action in the future, or similar action whenever they deem the cost of existing Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Public Exchange, College Education (whatever) is too high!?

    Just more pimping for votes with taxpayer dollars.

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