2017 Medicare Part B Premiums Explained
When you work with the senior health insurance market, you deal largely with Medicare. Because many of your clients operate on a fixed income, the cost of their health care becomes paramount. Most people don't pay premiums for Part A, but Medicare Part B premiums serve as a critical element of the health costs they will incur. And while there is a standard premium for this section of Medicare coverage, what your clients actually pay depends on other factors as discussed below. Understanding those factors and how to find answers to premium questions can go a long way toward helping you serve those clients' needs.
For those enrolling in Medicare in 2017, it's important to know that the standard Medicare Part B premiums begin at the price of $134. That standard applies to anyone who falls in one or more of the following categories:
- enrolling in Medicare Part B for the first time in 2017;
- not receiving Social Security benefits;
- being billed directly for Medicare Part B premiums; or
- receiving Medicaid benefits that pay Medicare premiums.
If any of those conditions apply, the Part B premium is tiered based on the income your clients received in 2015. The $134 price applies to individuals who reported earning between $85,000 and $170,000 on their joint return. For those who earned more, the premiums increase with an Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount, with a premium of up to $428.60 for those who reported over $214,000 on an individual return or over $428,000 on a joint return.
Download Your 2017 Client Guide to
Medicare Parts A & B
Tied to Social Security
On the other hand, Medicare Part B premiums will be lower than the standard premiums in 2017 for those who are receiving Social Security. This is because the premiums are tied in part to Social Security income, which did not go up to keep pace with inflation.
The standard Medicare premium rose from $121.80 to $134 in 2017, and Social Security pay did not increase at the same rate. The Medicare premium for those receiving Social Security will thus be reduced from the standard in 2017 to account for this discrepancy.
Paying Medicare Part B Premiums
Your clients who receive Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits have their Medicare premiums deducted directly from their benefit payments. In addition, those receiving Civil Service retirement benefits who are not also receiving Social Security benefits will have their premiums deducted from the Civil Service payments.
For anyone not receiving benefits from any of the above sources, they have additional options through which to make payments, including:
- sign up for Medicare Easy Pay, which automatically deducts payments from your clients' bank accounts on or around the 20th of each month;
- sign up for online bill pay through their bank, most of which allow your clients to set up payments on an automated schedule;
- mail a check or money order to the Medicare Premium Collection Center; or
- use a credit or debit card, with the information mailed to the Collection Center.
As an independent agent, you are in the best position to help your clients in understanding exactly what they have to pay, why the payment price is set where it is, and how to make their required payments in a way that works great for both parties. The Medicare handbook provides guidance that will assist you in answering these and other questions your clients may have, and serves as a critical resource to you in delivering the best service to your senior insurance clients.
For more information on the 2017 Medicare Parts A and B premiums and deductibles (CMS-8062-N, CMS-8063-N, CMS-8064-N), please visit https://www.federalregister.gov/public-inspection.
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