The Medicare Part B premium was announced by the CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medical Services) to start as from 1st January 2017.
After hearing the announcement, all I could of think of is, “I’m about to retire, and I have not thought of using the benefits from the Medicare Part B premium.” We are all worried when we are near retirement age or even when we retire, without knowing what benefits to get after that.
Medicare Part B premium coverage
It’s more of a “medical insurance” that covers all medical services as well as supplies such as outpatient hospital services, physician services, various home health services, durable medical equipment, and other items.
Now that I know what the Medicare Part B premium will cover, I won’t be worried anymore concerning the retirement period. For me to be sure I was safe, I had to research extensively to know more about what this Medicare covers.
I noticed that, to be specific; the Medicare Part B premium consists of two groupings; preventive services as well as medically services that are considered to be more necessary than others.
I was relieved since with this Medicare; I can use it every time I visit my doctor or when in need of surgery. It also covers supplies such as a walker or a wheelchair. What about ambulance services? My question was answered. When I learned that in the case of any transportation that could endanger my life in times of emergency (For instance, when I have a heart attack), ambulance transportation was to be covered by the Medicare Part B premium.
The other part was for preventive services like screening for illness such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, all lab tests, and other services purposively for preventing sicknesses (like the annual flu shot). No need for me to be worried about bills when visiting any hospital since the Medicare will cover this preventives services.
Medicare Part B premium costs
There are three groupings of beneficiaries each having different premiums.
Approximately 70% of Medicare Part B beneficiaries known as the hold harmless, will be required to pay an average of about $109 per month. In 2016 we were paying roughly $104.9 per month, and it has been constant for the past 4 years (an increase of 4%). How will we pay our premiums? The premiums will be paid directly from our Social Security benefits.
The remaining 30% will pay $134 per month for the standard monthly Medicare Part B premium. Last year (2016) we were paying $121.80 per month for the same premium, which is a 10% increase. These are people who do not get Social Security benefits, or in other words, individuals who have not claimed their Social Security benefits. I would suggest we all claim our Social Security benefits to avoid the extra amount. Also, all the new Medicare Part B beneficiaries in 2017 will pay for standard $134 per month premium.
Finally, higher income beneficiaries will still pay a higher Medicare Part B premium as compared to lower income beneficiaries (affects about 5% of Medicare beneficiaries). Also, 2016 (last year) we paid an annual deductible of $166, but in 2017 (current year) all Medicare Part B premium beneficiaries will be subject to a yearly deductible of $183. After paying the deductible, we will only pay 20% of Medicare Part B premium approved amount for the provision of any services.
|If your yearly income in 2015 (for what you pay in 2017) was||You pay each month (in 2017)|
|File individual tax return||File joint tax return||File married & separate tax return|
|$85,000 or less||$170,000 or less||$85,000 or less||$134|
|above $85,000 up to $107,000||above $170,000 up to $214,000||Not applicable||$187.50|
|above $107,000 up to $160,000||above $214,000 up to $320,000||Not applicable||$267.90|
|above $160,000 up to $214,000||above $320,000 up to $428,000||above $85,000 and up to $129,000||$348.30|
|above $214,000||above $428,000||above $129,000||$428.60|