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Increase In Medicare Premiums

The cost sharing amounts and 2017 premiums for Medicare Parts A and B was recently released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). According to the agency, Medicare beneficiaries who are currently enrolled under Medicare Part B will have to pay a monthly premium just like the commercial insurers.

Reports indicate that the 2017 premium for most of the beneficiaries will considerably rise from $104.90 to $109.00. However, a much bigger increase will be experienced by approximately 30 percent of beneficiaries in Medicare part B premiums.

The annual update of Social Security Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) is actually tied to the Medicare Part B premiums. Approximately 70 percent of total beneficiaries are currently under a “hold harmless” provision. This provision protects the beneficiaries from considerable increase in premiums. This is done by tying the premium increases to the cost-of-living adjustment.

The Obama Administration had earlier announced that COLA would only be 0.3 percent. Other beneficiaries, who are not eligible for this provision, will have to pay a lot more than those who are under the hold harmless provision. However, as the Medicare Part B premiums vary on the basis of income of the beneficiaries, reports indicate that those who are not under the “hold harmless” provision will have to pay an approximate amount in between $134 and $428.60.

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Medicare Parts A And B

CMS clarified that the beneficiaries, who enroll into the Medicare Part B premium for the first time in the year 2017, as well as those who do not receive any Social Security benefits, will not be protected by the “hold harmless” provision. In addition to that, the beneficiaries that are being directly billed for Part B premiums, those who are dually qualified for Medicaid and whose premiums are being paid by the state Medicaid agencies, as well as beneficiaries who pay income-related premiums, will also be excluded from this provision. Reports say that beneficiaries in these groups account for about 30 percent of the entire Part B beneficiaries.

Apart from that, CMS also noted that there will be a slight increase in Medicare Part A premiums that applies to just one-percent of the population, who do not have minimum 40 quarters of Medicare-covered employment in the year 2017. The agency also expects that the Part A in-patient deductibles will rise from $28 to $1,316 by the next year.

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