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Medicare Prices Are Going Up? How Will You Be Affected?

Posted by Larry Jones on Dec 27, 2018 9:30:00 AM
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2019 Medicare Changes Have Been Announced

If you're a senior retiree then no doubt you anxiously await the latest news each year from CMS, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, as they announce the changes for the upcoming year. The changes to take effect in 2019 have just been announced, and there is good news and bad news.

The good news is that Social Security recipients can expect to get....are you ready?

Da da da da da (drum roll)

This year your cost of living increase rolls in at 2.9%!

Not the greatest, but is, however more than retirees got last year.

What's the bad news?

In 2019, if you are affluent, you'll pay more than you might like.

Just Exactly What IS "our fair share?"

Ever since I've paid attention to politicians I've heard it proclaimed that the rich need to pay "their fair share!" Nobody has ever explained to me exactly how much that is. Only in America...could the rich people- who pay 86% of all income taxes - be accused of not paying their "fair share", by people who don't pay any income taxes at all.

If you're a senior living on a fixed income the joke's on you. Part B premiums may be upwards of $10,000 for some couples in 2018.

The majority of recipients will be somewhat protected by something called the "hold harmless rule." Implemented in 1987, it was designed to keep retirees net checks from diminishing. The rule states that if you have your Part B premiums deducted from your Social Security check, the premium cannot go up in a given year by more than the extra dollars that you are receiving as a cost of living adjustment. (Does that strike anyone other than me as funny?)

No such protection exists for those folks who are considered high income, or are new to Medicare in 2018.

Here's a couple of examples:

Bob White is a widower. His annual income is $88,000. Bob will incur an "Income-Related Surcharge" of $53.50 making his Part B payment $187.50 a month.

Jack and Jill Hill will have an Adjusted Gross Income of $433,000. They will have an income surcharge of $267.90 added, which will bring their combined Part B premium to almost $6,500 a year! 

What's Next?

There is much speculation on whether things will change under a Trump administration. I wouldn't get my hopes up. As the very large group of baby-boomers retires, the entire system will come under more and more strain. As much as we don't want to believe it, there "ain't no free lunch." We should expect Medicare and Long-Term Care costs to continue to rise.

See also Medicare Supplements

Until next time,


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