Q: How much does Medicare Part B cost the insured?
A: In 2015, those earning less than $85,000 ($170,000 for a married couple) pay $104.90/month for Part B and it’s conveniently deducted from your Social Security check. Medicare B also has a deductible, which is $147 in 2015.
For about seven million Part B enrollees, the premium was expected be 52 percent higher in 2016. But thanks to the budget deal that Congress passed on November 2, 2015, the premiums for those seven million Part B enrollees will instead increase by about 16 percent in 2016. They’ll be $121.80/month, although a $3/month surcharge will be added to repay the Medicare trust fund for the loan that is enabling the government to avert the much more significant rate increases that would otherwise have been implemented (this is roughly the premium that would have been paid in 2016 by all Part B enrollees with incomes under $85,000/year, except for the fact that there won’t be a cost of living adjustment to Social Security checks in 2016, which means that 70 percent of Part B enrollees will pay the same $104.90/month that they pay in 2015).
The increase in Part B premiums applies to all enrollees who aren’t receiving Social Security, as well as high-income enrollees. For enrollees with income under $85,000 who do receive a Social Security check, the Part B premium will still be $104.90/month in 2016, although it’s expected to increase to roughly $121.80/month (plus the $3/month surcharge) in 2017, assuming there’s a cost of living adjustment for Social Security.
The Part B deductible was expected to increase by 52 percent as well in 2016, rising to $223. But the budget deal also mitigated much of that increase, and the Part B deductible will instead be $166 in 2016. Enrollees who have supplemental coverage that pays the Part B deductible won’t have to pay the higher deductible, but they may be faced with higher supplemental premiums, since those plans will paying increased costs for their insureds.