Congressional lawmakers so far have failed to agree on a way to stave off an unprecedented premium increase for millions of Medicare recipients for 2016.
That is creating uncertainty for many seniors on Medicare Part B, which covers outpatient care such as doctor’s visits. About 30% of the roughly 52 million people enrolled in Part B could see a 52% rise in those premiums if Congress and the Obama administration don’t find a way to freeze or reduce the increase.
The Social Security administration said Thursday that there won't be a cost-of-living increase for Social Security benefits, which means the projected increase in the Part B premiums will occur unless there is a fix.
Open enrollment for Medicare for 2016 starts Thursday, though Congress could act to prevent the rise.
Pressure on Congress is mounting because many state budgets also would be hard hit. The premium increase would affect about nine million lower-income Medicare beneficiaries whose premiums are paid by state Medicaid programs because they are eligible for both plans. Many of those state programs are already stretched thin.
New beneficiaries, those with high incomes and Medicare recipients who don’t get Social Security would be hit with the increase. For them, the standard Part B premium would rise about $55 a month, or about $650 a year. Higher earners would pay even more.Read the rest of the story HERE.
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