Medicare Part B increases. Make a call.


Talk about bad timing.

Although I have been retired since 2012 I have suspended my Medicare until Anne retires in January. Then we will both enroll in Medicare.

That means we both will get smacked with a Medicare Part B charge 50% higher than those currently in Medicare.

Part B covers normal doctor bills.

My Part B costs would be 56% higher because I am in a retired category they call “not held harmless.” Most other members of the Teacher Retirement System in Illinois are not held harmless because we don’t collect Social Security.

Anne is in that category also because she would be newly enrolled in Medicare.

It is a double whammy for us.

In total, our Medicare costs would go up over $100 a month, over $1200 a year.

Remember that the next time you want to write a comment to my blog about my 3% COLA increase.

It does appear that the budget deal now before Congress will reduce the Medicare Pat B increase.

The House is expected to pass the bill, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, as early as this week and the Senate next week.

The cost of Medicare Part B part of the proposed legislation — about $12 billion, according to a National Journal report — would be covered by a loan from the Treasury and paid back over time by a gradual increase in Medicare Part B premiums.

“The approach to financing …  will allow premiums to increase more gradually, while spreading the cost over a longer period of time, and across a broader group of beneficiaries,” Neuman says. However, Votava calls it  “a kick-the-can strategy, as it does not address the long-term financial stability of Medicare.”

Judith Stein, founder and executive director of the Center for Medicare Advocacy, also offers a mixed review. “While we have concerns about the way in which the Part B cost-sharing resolution is paid for, we are glad people who rely on Medicare can breathe a bit easier – knowing their premiums and deductible will not skyrocket next year.”

Part B covers most medically necessary doctors’ services, preventive care, durable medical equipment, outpatient services, lab tests, X-rays, mental health care and some home health and ambulance services. Rate increases for the program are capped by law to the amount of the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA).

That provision came into play on Oct. 15, when the government announced there would be no COLA in 2016. No COLA meant no increase in Part B premiums for the 70% of Medicare beneficiaries who are considered held harmless, but a big increase for the remaining 30%.

It might be worth a few seconds of your time to call your congressman and senator and tell them how you feel about your Medicare costs.

9 thoughts on “Medicare Part B increases. Make a call.

  1. Suburban and downstate retired teachers have access to UHC Medicare Advantage insurance (and similar programs) that are NOT a part of the traditional Medicare A & B program. Will their premiums similarly increase?? Their literature makes no mention of any significant increases. Just asking.

  2. Fred,
    Additional story relating to Medicare Premiums:
    I have United Health Care Medicare Advantage PPO. United Health Care Advantage covers all the benefits one would receive directly from Medicare but also such things as prescription drugs, .
    United Health Care Medicare Advantage PPO receives a premium, but I also have to send in a premium to Medicare itself. However, besides paying for a premium to Medicare itself, Medicare receives some additional money from me as well. Even though I pay a monthly premium I am told since I still work part time some of the money I earn at my part-time job has to also be sent to Medicare. I mentioned this to an accountant and he said it was the law, but I still don’t understand why this is so

    • Earl–You might want to ask a someone from your local senior center who specifically helps seniors w/Medicare issues. I have found the specialist at ours (I was consulting her, actually, about my mom–not that age, yet), & she answered every question skillfully & correctly. (Accountants & lawyers don’t necessarily know that much about Medicare, pensions or any other issues that are senior-specific.) Hope this is helpful.

  3. How soon will we know for sure? What if it fails? I read that if you are 65 or will be 65 in December, go on Social Security and Medicare this year. Social Security likes a couple months advance notice, but they can put it through right away. (That still does not help anyone without enough quarters to get Social Security at all.)

    • If there is a budget deal it will be this coming week. There are a lot of factors to consider before you apply. There is not one right answer.

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