Q: How are Medicare benefits changing in 2017?
A: There are several changes for Medicare enrollees in 2017:
Part B premiums
Premiums for Medicare Part B will be will be higher in 2017 than they were in 2016. For about 70 percent of enrollees, the average increase is a little more than $4/month, and average premiums will be about $109/month. Medicare costs necessitated a larger increase, but the very small Social Security cost of living adjustment (0.3 percent) for 2017 limited the amount of the rate increase for most seniors, since Part B premiums are deducted from Social Security checks, and there’s a provision that prevents those checks from declining from one year to the next.
So for most Medicare part B enrollees, the average $109/month Part B premium in 2017 represents roughly a 4 percent increase from the $104.90/month they paid in 2016. But the exact amount they’ll pay in 2017 will vary depending on the dollar amount of the cost of living adjustment on their Social Security checks (the COLA will be applied to the higher Part B premiums that are deducted from Social Security checks, so net checks will remain unchanged).
For the other 30 percent of enrollees, average standard premiums (before any increase for high-income enrollees) will be $134/month, which is a 10 percent increase from the $121.80/month they paid in 2016.