It’s a good time to be a retiree. According to a recent announcement from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), monthly premiums for Medicare Part B and the related deductible will remain the same in 2015 as they were in 2013 and 2014.
This means that retirees living on fixed budgets and burdened with medical expenses won’t have to spend any of the recent cost of living increase to Social Security benefits on rising Medicare premiums.
In 2015, the monthly premium for Medicare Part B will stay at $104.90 per month for almost all retirees covered by medicare. A higher premium will only be applied to retirees with individual filing incomes of over $85,000 a year or joint filing incomes of over $170,000 a year. Part B’s annual deductible will hold steady at $147.
Medicare provides eligible retirees over the age of 65 (and disabled beneficiaries under age 65) with much needed low-cost medical insurance. Part B covers outpatient medical expenses.
The HHS statement explained the reasons for the steady deductible and premium. “Thanks to slower health care cost growth within Medicare since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, next year’s Medicare Part B monthly premium will remain unchanged for the second consecutive year,” the announcement explained.
“The Affordable Care Act is working to improve affordability and access to quality care for seniors and people with disabilities. The stabilization of Part B premiums is another example of how we are containing health care costs to provide a more sustainable and affordable health delivery system.”
Unfortunately, the Medicare Part A deductible that covers hospital expenses will rise by $44, but the average Social Security benefit will rise by $22 per month.
The OIG’s List of Excluded Individuals/Entities will continue to provide information to health care providers on individuals excluded from participation in Federal health care programs, like Medicare, going into 2015.
In spite of the handful of changes, pre-retirees are still encouraged to save money and make smart decisions concerning Social Security.