Following is a statement by Medicare Rights Center President Joe Baker:
Starting January 1, for most people with Medicare, the Part B premium will remain the same, amounting to $104.90 per month. For beneficiaries who are not held harmless and protected from premium increases, the standard Part B premium will be $118.80. These beneficiaries will also pay a $3 surcharge, bringing their total monthly cost to $121.80. The Part B deductible will be $166 for all people with Medicare, up from $147.
We applaud bipartisan action by Congressional leaders and the White House to prevent steep and unprecedented increases in the 2016 Part B premium and deductible. With no Social Security cost of living adjustment in 2016, many beneficiaries and their families were facing a nearly 50 percent increase in monthly premiums and an increase in their Part B deductible up to $223.
To limit the magnitude of anticipated premium increases, lawmakers agreed to lessen the increase, essentially offering a loan to affected beneficiaries. Over time, this loan will be repaid through the monthly premium surcharge.
Half of all people with Medicare live on annual incomes of $24,150 or less and cannot afford stark increases in their monthly health expenses. By spreading the cost of the increased premium over time and bringing down the cost of the deductible, Congress and the White House blunted the impact of an unprecedented shock to Medicare households.