Meanwhile, there has been rising concern but no firm move yet on Capitol Hill to address the potential for higher premiums under the Medicare program to be imposed on some enrollees including those who don’t receive Social Security benefits, such as the majority of CSRS retirees. A provision of Medicare law states that if a person’s Social Security COLA–which is set according to the same indicator as the federal retirement COLA–doesn’t increase enough to cover the increase in Medicare Part B premiums, the entire additional cost for Medicare is shifted to certain enrollees excluded from that protection. Recent estimates are that the premium will rise from its current level of about $105 per month to about $121 per month, but under that “hold harmless” provision the premiums would be frozen for most and those not protected would have to pay premiums of about $159 per month. That is a difference well above the $15-$20 per month difference when that provision last applied, in 2010 and 2011. Actual Medicare premium figures for 2016 are to be announced in October, around the same time as the COLA count is finalized.
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