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Big Price Hikes for Medicare Premiums in 2017?

Some Medicare beneficiaries could see rate increases of 22% next year.

Retirees, brace yourselves: Some participants may see double-digit premium hikes for Medicare Part B in 2017.

See More: 11 Common Medicare Mistakes

Congress figures to step in before the bills are due, as it did last year. But if it doesn't, premiums for about 30% of beneficiaries could jump 22%, from $121.80 per month to $149 a month in January 2017, if the cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security is low, as expected. The COLA for next year is likely to be quite small: 0.2% to 0.8%. The actual rates for Part B (which covers the costs of doctor visits and outpatient care) will be announced in October and take effect January 1.

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When Social Security COLAs are very low or nonexistent, as was the case this year, about 70% of folks are protected from paying more for Medicare than they receive in the form of a raise in their monthly benefit checks. That sticks other recipients with the bill, specifically:

  • those who enroll in Part B in 2017,
  • people who don’t have their premiums deducted from Social Security payments,
  • individuals with annual incomes above $85,000,
  • and people eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.

For the last group, known as “dual eligibles,” Part B premiums are paid by the state where they live.

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