Updates to Medicare Part B

Updates to Medicare Part B

Medicare is an area that needs to be kept up on. Potential issues are not likely to go away any time soon. Let’s be honest, no one expects health costs to go down in the near future. So with that said… how does it affect us?

Last week, we discussed Social Security and its recently announced COLA (cost-of-living-adjustment) of 2.8%. In 2017, the cost of Medicare Part B (outpatient services) also went up (by just over 10%). Last year’s COLA basically got gobbled up by increased Medicare costs. We go into a bit more detail on Medicare costs HERE. Take a look at the following table (provided by Motley Fool). It shows Medicare Part B costs over the past 51 years (note that this is the base cost, Medicare Part B is tied to income, so an individual’s Part B costs will vary).

Medicare Chart.png

The cost of healthcare will continue to be an issue that seniors deal with. However, there is a saving grace. It’s a little known (or understood) provision called the “Hold Harmless Provision.” Medicare Interactive explains in depth that the cost of Part B will not increase more than your COLA adjustment to Social Security (in dollars) each year. So, if the cost of Medicare Part B goes from $134 to $160 for example, and your Social Security doesn’t increase for that year, then your Medicare Part B costs will not increase. Note that this only applies if the following are true:

  1. You are receiving Social Security and having Part B costs deducted from your Social Security payment.
  2. You do not already have higher Part B premiums (remember this reset every year, so one year it may apply, another it may not)

Check out this article for more information, if interested. 

The need to keep up with this stuff will never go away, so we will keep giving you updates along the way!

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