Impact of the 2016 Medicare Part B Premium Increase

Contributed by: Matt Trujillo, CFP® Matt Trujillo

You may have heard of the pending Medicare part B premium increase for 2016.  If this is news to you, the most recent Medicare Trustees Report is estimating the baseline premium to increase from $104.90 to $159.30 beginning in 2016 (approximately a 52% increase). The reason why premiums are estimated to increase so much next year is mainly attributable to the way the program is currently structured.

Hold Harmless Clause May Protect You

Currently, the law does not allow higher premiums for all participants. In fact, if you are currently receiving social security benefits, have an adjusted gross income under $170,000 (or $85,000 if single), and are having your Medicare part B premiums taken directly from your social security benefit, then you probably won’t see any increase in your Medicare part B premiums for 2016. This is due to the “hold harmless” clause that protects current Medicare recipients from large rate hikes.

Ordinarily the increase in Medicare premiums is pegged to the annual cost of living adjustment from the social security administration. However, next year the administration says there will be no cost of living adjustment, which has left the Medicare Trustees unable to raise the premiums on 70% of current Medicare recipients.

Am I at Risk for a Medicare Part B Rate Hike?

So how will the Medicare Trustees keep up with the rising cost of healthcare? Simple: they will pass along the costs to future recipients. If you’re not currently receiving social security benefits, but are slated to start soon, you might be in for an unpleasant surprise.

You might be a candidate for a rate hike if:

  • You pay your Medicare Premiums directly and don’t have them deducted from your social security benefit.
  • You have filed for social security benefits but have suspended payment to take advantage of delayed retirement credits (i.e. file and suspend strategy).
  • You have an adjusted gross income higher than $170,000 filing a joint tax return or higher than $85,000 as a single filer.

Talk to your financial advisor to find out more about this pending rate hike, and whether or not you will be affected.

Matthew Trujillo, CFP®, is a Certified Financial Planner™ at Center for Financial Planning, Inc. Matt currently assists Center planners and clients, and is a contributor to Money Centered.

This material is being provided for information purposes only and is not a complete description, nor is it a recommendation. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but Raymond James does not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete.