Fedweek

The Medicare program has announced rates for 2017, with a $109 monthly Part B premium (for physicians and related services), an increase of about $4 for most. Due to a “hold harmless” provision that prevents increases for most enrollees from exceeding the increase to Social Security benefits, those not protected by that provision—including new enrollees for 2017 and those who don’t pay Medicare premiums from Social Security benefits (a group that includes most of those retired under CSRS)—will pay $134. That amount would have been even higher—projected earlier as around $150—except that Medicare used an authority to soften the impact. Still, groups representing retirees are asking Congress to bring that higher premium down to the level applying to everyone else. Those with annual taxable incomes above $85,000 for single filers and $170,000 for joint filers also pay at the higher basic rate—plus, they are subject to surcharges that will range from about $53 to $294 a month depending on income. The Part B annual deductible will rise from $166 to $183 for all enrollees. In Part A, which covers hospitalization and related costs, the deductible will rise from $1,288 to $1,316 for the first 60 days and proportionate boosts also will apply to deductibles for longer periods.