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Medicare Part B Premiums and Deductible in 2016: The Effect of No Cost-of-Living Increase in Social Security Benefits

Summary of Publication

This fact sheet describes what will happen to next year’s Medicare Part B premiums—and how that will affect Medicare enrollees and states—as a result of no Social Security cost-of-living adjustment  for 2016.  

Unless federal policy makers enact changes, Medicare premiums for doctor and outpatient services (Part B services) will increase by 52 percent for about 30 percent of people with Part B coverage—approximately 16.5 million people. State governments will pay that increase for about 9 million of them. Premiums for the other 70 percent of Medicare enrollees will remain at the 2015 level because a hold-harmless provision freezes their premiums when the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment is zero. However, the hold-harmless provision protects only against changes to premiums. The estimated annual deductible for Part B coverage in 2016 will increase by 52 percent for everyone, going from $147 to $223. Policy makers should consider options to prevent the steep increase in premiums that many enrollees (and states) face.