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Tuesday December 6, 2016

Savvy Living

Savvy Senior

How Much You'll Pay for Medicare in 2017

I know there won't be much of a cost-of-living increase in Social Security benefits next year but what about Medicare? How will the 0.3% Social Security raise affect our Part B monthly premiums in 2017?

Considering the rising cost of health care coverage, the news regarding your Medicare costs for 2017 is not too bad. Here's what you can expect.

Part B Premiums


Because the Social Security Administration is giving out a measly 0.3% cost of living increase starting in January - that equates to about a $4 to $5 monthly increase on average - the 2017 Part B monthly premium for about 70% of Medicare recipients will increase only about $4 to $5.

Thanks to the Social Security Act's "hold harmless" provision, Medicare cannot pass along premium increases greater than the dollar increase in their Social Security checks.

So, if your Medicare Part B monthly premium is currently $104.90, you can expect it to be around $109 (on average) in 2017. Or, if you signed up for Part B for the first time in 2016, your $121.80 monthly premium will rise to around $127 (on average) next year.

Some Will Pay More


Unfortunately, the hold harmless provision does not protect all Medicare recipients. New Medicare enrollees (those who will enroll in 2017), beneficiaries who are directly billed for their Part B premium and current beneficiaries who have deferred claiming their Social Security will pay more.

If you fit into any of these categories, your Medicare Part B premium will be $134 per month in 2017, up from $121.80.

The hold harmless rule also does not protect high-income Medicare beneficiaries who already pay higher Part B premiums because their annual incomes are above $85,000 for an individual or $170,000 for a couple. If you fit into this category, here's what you'll pay for your Part B premium next year, based on your 2015 tax returns:
  • Individuals with incomes of $85,000 to $107,000, or married couples filing joint tax returns with incomes of $170,000 to $214,000, will pay $187.50 per month.
  • Individuals earning $107,000 to $160,000 (couples $214,000 to $320,000) will pay $267.90.
  • Individuals with incomes of $160,000 to $214,000 (couples $320,000 to $428,000) will pay $348.30.
  • Individuals with incomes over $214,000 or couples above $428,000 will pay $428.60.

Another increase high-income beneficiaries (those with incomes over $85,000, or $170,000 for joint filers) need to be aware of is the surcharge on Part D premiums. Affluent seniors that have a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan will pay an additional $13.30 to $76.20 per month, depending on their income, on top of their regular Part D premiums.

Deductibles and Co-Pays


Other changes that will affect all Medicare beneficiaries include the Part B deductible, which will increase to $183 in 2017 from $166 in 2016. The Part A (hospital insurance) annual deductible will also go up to $1,316 in 2017 (it's currently $1,288) for hospital stays up to 60 days. That increases to $329 per day for days 61-90, and to $658 a day for days 91 and beyond. And the skilled nursing facility coinsurance for days 21-100 will also increase to $164.50 per day, up from $161 in 2016.

For more information on all the Medicare costs for 2017 visit Medicare.gov and click on "Find out how much Medicare costs in 2017," or call 800-633-4227.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living” book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization’s official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.

Published December 2, 2016
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