As of January 1, 2017, the monthly Medicare Part B premium is $134.00, up 10 percent from 2016, for people with incomes of $85,000 or less. The increase is substantial. Fortunately, the vast majority of people with Medicare are seeing a far smaller premium increase, in 2017. Time will tell what happens in the following years.
The 2017 Part B premium for about 70 percent of people with Medicare is $109 a month, an increase of $4.00 from the 2016 premium of $105. That's because of a "hold harmless" provision in the Social Security Act that protects millions of people with Medicare. It keeps Medicare premiums from rising more than people's monthly Social Security checks.
Since Social Security benefits are barely increasing in 2017, up just 0.3 percent or about $4.00 a month, Medicare monthly premiums can only increase that much for the majority of people with Medicare. Still, about three in ten people with incomes of $85,000 or less will pay the full $134.00 monthly premium. People who do not receive Social Security benefits will pay the full $134.00 monthly premium as well as people who are first time enrollees in Part B in 2017 and people with Medicare and Medicaid, whose state Medicaid agencies will pay the higher premium.
People with annual incomes over $85,000 -- about six percent of the population -- will pay even more. People whose modified adjusted gross income from two years ago as reported on their federal tax return will pay:
- $187.50 a month, if their income is above $85,000 and no more than $107,000.
- $267.90 a month, if their income is above $107,000 and no more than $160,000
- $348.30 a month, if their income is above $160,000 and no more than $214,000
- $428.60 a month, if their income is above $214,000
If you double the annual income amounts, you can determine the monthly premium for married people filing a joint tax return.
The Part B annual deductible is $183.00, a $17 increase from 2016.
Anyone with incomes up to 135 percent of the federal poverty level, ($1,357 in monthly income for an individual and $1,823 for a couple in 2016) may be able to get help paying their premiums through Medicaid or a Medicare Savings Program. (If you're just signing up for Medicare here's a simple Medicare checklist.)
What will become of your Medicare costs in the coming years? (Today, they are about $5,000 a year for the typical person with Medicare and more than $10,000 a year for people with costly health care needs.) Right now, it looks as if President-elect Trump and the Republican Congress plan to drive costs still higher for people with Medicare. The reforms on the table are likely to cap government spending on Medicare and shift substantially more health care costs onto older adults and people with disabilities. If you oppose these possible reforms, please sign this petition from Social Security Works and schedule a meeting to speak with your senators.