The announcement of the 2018 Medicare premium is good news for some beneficiaries and bad news for many others. The good news is that the standard monthly Part B premium, which about 30 percent of Medicare beneficiaries pay, will again be $134 next year, unchanged from 2017.
But most Medicare recipients currently pay a lower premium because they have been protected from any increase in premiums for the last several years. This year, due to the 2 percent Social Security increase for 2018, the premiums of these formerly protected beneficiaries could rise significantly.
An estimated 42 percent of these beneficiaries will pay the full monthly premium of $134 due to the increase in their Social Security benefit. The rest will pay less than $134 because the increase in their Social Security benefit will not be large enough to cover the full Part B premium increase. The average premium for these beneficiaries will jump from $109 to $130 a month, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
So, in other words, Medicare beneficiaries who have been protected from a premium increase in past years will see their premiums go up, while those who have been unprotected in recent years will pay the same.
Here are all the new Medicare payment figures:
- Part B premium for protected beneficiaries: Average of $130/month
- Part B premium for those not protected: $134 (unchanged)
- Part B deductible: $183 (unchanged)
- Part A deductible: $1,340 (was $1,316)
- Co-payment for hospital stay days 61-90: $335/day (was $329)
- Co-payment for hospital stay days 91 and beyond: $670/day (was $658)
- Skilled nursing facility co-payment, days 21-100: $167.50/day (was $164)
So-called “Medigap” policies can cover some of these costs.
Premiums for higher-income beneficiaries ($85,000 and above) are as below:
- Individuals with annual incomes between $85,000 and $107,000 and married couples with annual incomes between $170,000 and $214,000 will pay a monthly premium of $187.50.
- Individuals with annual incomes between $107,000 and $133,500 and married couples with annual incomes between $214,000 and $267,000 will pay a monthly premium of $267.90.
- Individuals with annual incomes between $133,500 and $160,000 and married couples with annual incomes between $267,000 and $320,000 will pay a monthly premium of $348.30.
- Individuals with annual incomes above $160,000 and married couples with annual incomes above $320,000 will pay a monthly premium of $428.60.
Rates differ for beneficiaries who are married but file a separate tax return from their spouse.
Those who enroll in Medicare Advantage plans may have different cost-sharing arrangements. CMS estimates that the Medicare Advantage average monthly premium will decrease by $1.91 (about 6 percent) in 2018, from an average of $31.91 in 2017 to $30 in 2018.
For Medicare’s press release announcing the new premium and deductible amounts, here.
For Medicare’s “Medicare costs at a glance,” here.