Many Medicare recipients should be prepared to pay more for their doctor's visits and other outpatient care next year.
For the 70 percent of Medicare Part B enrollees who currently pay a lower monthly premium due to a "hold harmless" legal provision, their monthly cost will rise by as much as $25 to $134, from the 2017 average of $109, according to information released Friday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.
The standard monthly premium for Part B will remain unchanged at $134.
The hold harmless provision prevents Medicare Part B premiums from rising more than a person's Social Security cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA. After several years of low or no annual COLAs, Social Security recipients will get a 2 percent COLA increase next year.
The extra amount will go toward paying the full $134 Part B premium. For about 28 percent of Part B enrollees, premiums will still be lower than that standard amount because the increase in their Social Security benefit will not be enough to cover the full Part B premium.
Since 2007, beneficiaries with incomes above $85,000 pay higher premiums. Those amounts remain unchanged in 2018 from this year, ranging from $187.50 to $428.60.
Additionally, the annual deductible for all Medicare Part B recipients will remain unchanged at $183.
However, the Medicare Part A annual inpatient hospital deductible that beneficiaries pay when admitted to the hospital will be $1,340 per benefit period in 2018, up $24 from $1,316 in 2017.
Premiums and deductibles for Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C) and prescription drug plans (Part D) already were finalized and are unaffected by the agency's Friday announcement.