The “Doc Fix” bill that passed this spring includes a provision to level the portion of Medicare Part B costs paid for by beneficiaries. This means the premium has to go up to cover the unfunded portion. According to an analysis by the Center for Retirement Research, quoted in this Fiscal Times article, up to 15 million beneficiaries could see their Part B premium increase from $104.90 to $159.30 a month. Couples could be paying more.
Click here to view the 2015 Annual Report from the boards that manage Medicare’s trust funds, and jump to pages 201-203 to view rate tables.
70 percent of the Medicare population gets their Part B premium taken out of their Social Security check. There is a “hold harmless” provision of the Social Security Act that does not allow Medicare beneficiaries to have any costs passed on to them if there is no Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) to cover that increased premium. So, most beneficiaries’ premiums will remain stable at $104.90 this year.
Unfortunately for the 30 percent of Medicare beneficiaries who do not have their premium taken out of their Social Security check, it just so happens that if there is no COLA increase they are responsible for covering the entire amount of their premiums, which will be raised more than 50 percent to $159.30.
This also includes all of those on Medicaid that have their premium paid by the state as well as all individuals who have either chosen to delay taking Social Security or are not full retirement age yet (age 65-67).
Agents need to be proactive this AEP let their prospects and clients know what could happen to their medical costs so they’re prepared. My 82-year-old mother heard on the news that her premium was going to $159 and she was very worried about what was going to happen.
Most seniors do not know the details of the situation. As their agent, you can be the first one to educate them and earn their trust.
Don’t miss a thing this AEP. Subscribe to The Agent’s Advantage for more Medicare policy news that can affect your book of business. Call RB Insurance at (800) 997 3107 or email me to learn more about how Medicare Part B premiums may be changing for your prospects and clients this AEP.
Editor’s note: This post has been updated to include more sources and to clarify the premium increase.