In this earlier post we explained how Part B premiums might need to increase by 52 percent to $159.20 for millions of Seniors if there’s no cost of living increase for Social Security in 2016. This week it was announced that there will indeed be no increase in 2016 Social Security payments. The rate of inflation is too low, especially with the decline in gas prices.
In years with no Social Security rate increase, a related “hold harmless” provision prevents Medicare from increasing monthly premiums to about 70% of seniors. The other 30% not protected by the provision – chiefly comprised of new Medicare enrollees and higher income Seniors — may see their own premiums increase by 52% in order to pay for higher Medicare program expenses.
The Wall Street Journal reports today that, “Officials who oversee the Medicare program at the Department of Health and Human Services are reviewing ways to reduce the increase.”