Editor’s Note: Journalist Philip Moeller, who writes widely on health and retirement, is here to provide the Medicare answers you need in “Ask Phil, the Medicare Maven.” Send your questions to Phil.
Medicare rules and private insurance plans can affect people differently depending on where they live. To make sure the answers here are as accurate as possible, Phil is working with the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) and the Medicare Rights Center (MRC).
Edward: I read about there being a big increase projected in Medicare Part B premiums next year. However, I understand that if people began this year to have their Part B premiums withheld from their Social Security payments, they would not pay higher Part B premiums in 2016 due to Social Security’s “hold harmless” rule. If this is the case for 2016, I wondered if there also is no Social Security COLA [cost of living adjustment] for 2017, would this also be the case that year? And would any savings continue, in theory, for the rest of a person’s life?
Phil Moeller: Edward’s question and many others on this topic have risen to the top of the Maven’s inbox of late. He is referring to a very complicated but also potentially very big hike in Part B premiums that might be levied on some Medicare beneficiaries in 2016.