Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.

Ask Kim

Retirees to Pay More for Medicare in 2017

Most Medicare recipients who have their premiums deducted from their Social Security benefits will see a modest boost in premiums of $4 or $5 per month.

iStockphoto

What are Medicare Part B premiums going to be for 2017?

Most Medicare beneficiaries will pay $109 per month or thereabouts in 2017, up from $104.90 in 2016. This group of people – about 70% of Medicare beneficiaries – have their premiums deducted automatically from their Social Security benefits. They’re protected by a law called the hold-harmless provision, which prohibits Social Security benefits from being reduced because of an increase in Medicare premiums. Medicare cost increases are generally covered by the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment.

SEE ALSO: 10 Things You Must Know About Medicare

But the 0.3% Social Security COLA won’t cover the full cost of the Medicare increase because health care costs are rising at a faster pace than that – meaning their premiums can increase only by the 0.3% cost-of-living increase in Social Security benefits. So beneficiaries will have to pay as much as the 0.3% can cover for them, and people with smaller Social Security benefits will have smaller monthly Medicare premiums than people with larger benefits. The Social Security Administration will notify them of their specific premiums for 2017.

Medicare beneficiaries who enroll in Part B for the first time in 2017, don’t receive Social Security benefits or are billed directly for their Part B premiums will pay $134 per month in 2017 (up from $121.80 per month in 2016).

Advertisement

High-income beneficiaries will pay more, whether or not they have premiums paid from their Social Security benefits. If your adjusted gross income plus tax-exempt interest income is more than $85,000 if you’re single or $170,000 if you’re married filing jointly, you’ll pay from $187.50 per person per month to $428.60 per person per month, depending on your income (up from $170.50 to $389.80 in 2016). You’ll also have to pay a surcharge of $13.30 to $76.20 per month on top of your Part D prescription-drug premiums (up from $12.70 to $72.90 per month). See the table below for the surcharge amounts by income level.

SEE ALSO: Retirees, Avoid These 11 Costly Medicare Mistakes

The 2017 surcharge is based on your income from the last tax return the IRS has on file, which will generally be for 2015. But if your income has dropped since then because of certain life-changing events, such as the death of a spouse, divorce or retirement, you can ask the government to use your more-recent income. You’ll need to file Form SSA-44 with the Social Security Administration and provide documentation of the life-changing event, such as a letter from your former employer if you’ve retired. For more information about the high-income surcharge, see Medicare Premiums: Rules for Higher-Income Beneficiaries.

A few other Medicare-related costs are also changing in 2017. The annual deductible for Medicare Part B is rising from $166 to $183. The Part A hospital deductible rises from $1,288 to $1,316. For more information about the increased cost-sharing and premiums for Medicare in 2017, see Medicare 2017 Costs at a Glance.

How Much You'll Pay for Medicare Each Month in 2017

Single Filer Income Joint Filer Income Part B Premium Part D Surcharge
Up to $85,000 Up to $170,000 $134 or average $109* --
$85,001 - $107,000 $170,001 - $214,000 $187.50 $13.30
$107,001 - $160,000 $214,001 - $320,000 $267.90 $34.20
$160,001 - $214,000 $320,001 - $428,000 $348.30 $55.20
More than $214,000 More than $428,000 $428.60 $76.2

*If you’re protected by the hold-harmless provision, Medicare premiums will only increase from last year’s $104.90 based on the 0.3% cost-of-living increase in Social Security benefits.

TAKE OUR QUIZ: Making Sense of Medicare

Got a question? Ask Kim at askkim@kiplinger.com.