What Does the Social Security Benefit Increase Have to do with the Medicare Part B Premium?

On October 18, 2016, the Social Security Administration announced that Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries would receive a 0.3 percent COLA (cost-of-living adjustment) increase in 2017. The 0.3 percent COLA this also will affect the Medicare Part B premium.

For 2016, the standard premium for Medicare Part B is $121.80 / month (or higher, depending on the beneficiary’s income), although most Medicare Part B beneficiaries paid $104.90/month the premium because a COLA was not applied to Social Security benefits in 2016.

While Medicare has not yet announced the Part B premium for 2017, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare predicts a $2.70 a month  increase for those who currently pay $104.90 a month, and $27.20 a month increase for those who currently pay $121.80 a month or higher in 2017.

Although this may not be a steep increase for most Part B beneficiaries, it is a good time to review how much you are paying for Medicare health and drug plans since we are in the middle of the Open Enrollment Period (10/15/16 – 12/7/16). This is once-a-year opportunity for Medicare beneficiaries to make changes to their Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare Part D (prescription drug) plans.

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Every year, Medicare health and drug plans change their benefits – premium, deductibles, copayment, coverage details, providers, drug formularies, etc. It is very important for us to make an informed decision about our health and drug plans each year.

You can compare your current plan with other plans available in your area by using the Medicare Plan Finder on Medicare.gov.

Or you can contact the HICAP (Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program) office in your county to get assistance from a certified volunteer counselor.

HICAP Los Angeles County – 213.383.4519 | Mon – Fri, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m

.HICAP Orange County – 714.560.0424 | Mon – Fri, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

HICAP Ventura County – 805.477.7310 | Mon – Fri, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Kanako Fukuyama, KEIRO staff, is a certified HICAP counselor in Orange County. She is bilingual in English and Japanese. She has office hours at the Orange County Japanese American Association office in Tustin on Wednesdays, November 16 and 30, and December 7 and 21 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., for questions/issues regarding Medicare, long-term care options, caregiving, health and aging, etc.

Please call 323.326.7602 to make an appointment for in-person counseling.

For assistance in Japanese:

Shucchou Service

出張サービスは11月16日、12月7日、12月21日となっています。面会、あるいは電話での無料相談が可能です。予約は福山可奈子まで電話213.873.5709あるいはメールkfukuyama@keiro.org。

日本語でのサービス内容:

  • メディケアに関するご質問
  • 加齢や健康に関するご相談
  • 介護に関するご相談

KEIRO® is expanding our reach from a focus on long term health care facilities to broadly engaging and supporting thousands of Japanese American and Japanese older adults throughout Los Angeles, Orange, and Ventura counties. KEIRO provides services to older adults and caregivers, along with programs for residents of KEIRO’s former facilities—helping older adults in Our Community to age the way they choose. Find out more at: www.keiro.org

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