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Medicare Part B premiums jumping 23 percent for many retirees

Key Points
  • About 42 percent of recipients will see their premium jump to $134 from $109.
  • The standard Part B premium will remain unchanged at $134.
  • About 70 percent of Medicare recipients pay less than that due to the "hold harmless" provision.
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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.

Making Medicare Work For You
Making Medicare Work For You