Medicare Part B premiums will remain the same in 2015 as in 2014 and 2013, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
That means for most of the 49 million Americans enrolled in the program—those who make $85,000 per year as individuals and $170,000 jointly—premiums will still be $104.90, and deductibles will still be $147. Since Part B covers physician visits, outpatient care, and limited home health services and durable medical equipment, retirees will be able to worry a little less about their medical expenses in the coming year.
This stable premium is actually $125 lower than the Congressional Budget Office predicted in 2009, and the Affordable Care Act’s Medicare cuts and the slowing growth of healthcare costs are likely reasons. HHS figures show that over the past four years, per capita Medicare spending growth has averaged 0.8 percent – just over a quarter of the same period’s 3.1 annual increase in per capita GDP.
In an HHS press release, Secretary Burwell said that, “Thanks to slower health care cost growth within Medicare since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, next year’s Medicare Part B monthly premium will remain unchanged for the second consecutive year. The Affordable Care Act is working to improve affordability and access to quality care for seniors and people with disabilities.”
Should these trends continue, retirees and pre-retirees may be able to count on lower personal healthcare costs over the next few years. “The stabilization of Part B premiums is another example of how we are containing healthcare costs to provide a more sustainable and affordable health delivery system,” said CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner in a statement. “The Administration has taken important steps to improve the quality of care while keeping the cost of Medicare premiums and deductibles the same. This means even greater financial and health security for our seniors next year as their premiums will remain unchanged.”