The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will be increasing Medicare Part A premiums $9 per month in 2018, holding the ‘standard’ Medicare Part B premium steady, and letting the premium many enrollees actually pay rise sharply.
(Related: Some Agents Fear Medicare Help Desks)
CMS is getting ready to publish the official Medicare premium notices in the Federal Register Nov. 21.
The Medicare Part A plan covers inpatient hospital bills. A preview copy of the Part A notice is available here.
The Medicare Part B plan covers physician services and outpatient hospital bills. A preview copy of the Part B notice is available here.
The 2018 rate notices are the first annual Medicare rate notices developed since Donald Trump became president. Details
Medicare provides health coverage for U.S. residents ages 65 and older, people who qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, and people who getting kidney dialysis.
Most Americans who have spent many years in the workforce, or have been married to spouses in the workforce, get Medicare Part A coverage without paying any amounts of out-of-pocket.
For people who have not worked enough in the United States to qualify for free Medicare Part A coverage, the fully monthly premium will rise to $422 per month Jan. 1, from $413 per month this year.
The monthly premium for people on SSDI who return to the workforce, and stay on the job long enough to use up transitional Medicare benefits, will rise to $232 per month, from $227 per month this year.
The “standard Medicare Part B” premium schedule will stay the same.
The standard monthly out-of-pocket premiums for people individuals with annual income less than or equal to $85,000, and couples with annual income less than or equal to $170,000, will hold steady at $134.
The maximum monthly premium, for individuals with annual income over $160,000, and couples with annual income over $320,000, will continue to be $428.60. ‘Hold Harmless’ Enrollees
About 70% of Medicare Part B enrollees benefit from a “hold harmless” provision that keeps the monthly premiums of low-income and moderate-income enrollees from rising faster than inflation. This year, they are paying an average of about $109 per month for Part B coverage.
CMS Administrator Seema Verma addressed the enrollees affected by the hold-harmless provision briefly in the 2018 rate announcement.
“Next year,” she said, “no beneficiary protected by the hold-harmless provision will see a Part B premium increase that is greater than the increase in their Social Security benefits.”
Social Security managers recently announced a 2% increase in cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for people getting Social Security benefits. That amounts to an average of $25 per month for people getting the average $1,250 monthly benefit.
If, for example, typical hold-harmless enrollees now paying $109 per month for coverage have to spend an extra $20 per month on Medicare Part B premiums in 2018, their Part B premiums could rise about 18%.
—Read Time Running Out to Fix Social Security, Medicare on ThinkAdvisor.