2016 Medicare Part B Premium Increase and Its Effect on Federal Retirees

Updated: November 12, 2015

The Department of Health and Human Services has officially released the Medicare Part B premium rates for 2016, as seen in the chart below.

For those not held harmless, the standard Medicare Part B premium baseline is $118.80 per month, plus a $3 surcharge. As such, premiums for most federal retirees who do not receive Social Security will be $121.80. This is slightly lower than the projected rate following the budget agreement, which was $123.70. Individuals held harmless will continue to pay $104.90 in 2016.

The chart below, which was taken from the official Medicare website, shows the 2016 premium rates for those not held harmless, including rates for individuals who pay higher premiums due to their income level.

NOTE: These figures include the surcharge, which vary by income level. The surcharges, by income level, are $3, $4.20, $6, $7.80 and $9.60.


Updated: October 27, 2015

The White House and congressional leaders struck a deal, on October 27, to prevent a disproportionate 52 percent increase in Medicare Part B premiums in 2016. The compromise was included as part of a larger budget deal that lifted sequestration caps for the next two upcoming fiscal years (2016 and 2017), and raised the national debt limit.

Per the budget agreement, the standard Medicare Part B premium baseline is projected to be $120.70 per month for 2016. Simply, premiums for those held harmless will not change; they will remain stable at $104.90 in 2016. For most beneficiaries who are not held harmless, premiums will rise to $120.70, plus a surcharge, as explained below.

To make up for the lost revenue to the Medicare Trust Fund as a result of lower premiums, beneficiaries will be charged a monthly surcharge of $3, starting in 2016. The $3 surcharge will not apply to those held harmless this year, but it will apply to those individuals in future years in which they are not held harmless. As such, premiums for most federal retirees who do not receive Social Security are projected to be $123.70. Medicare beneficiaries who pay higher premiums due to their income level would see their premiums adjusted from the $120.70 baseline, plus any surcharge. The surcharge is expected to last five years.

NARFE President Richard Thissen issued the following response: “NARFE has been sounding the alarm on this issue since July, and has been working continuously to urge Congress to find a solution. This fix may not be perfect, but it is a major victory. I want to thank the thousands of NARFE members who wrote or called their members of Congress to push them to address this issue.”  

To read NARFE’s press release on this issue, please click here.


Updated October 21, 2015

Medicare Part B premiums are expected to increase disproportionately, to the tune of 52 percent, in 2016 for those who do not pay their Medicare premiums through their Social Security benefits, including Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) retirees who receive no Social Security benefits, as well for those who pay higher premiums due to their income. Currently the premiums are slated to rise from $104.90 to $159.30 per month.

This is due to the effect of the so-called “hold harmless” provision, which states that the dollar increase in the Part B premium is limited to the dollar increase in an individual’s Social Security benefit. With no cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), an estimated 70 percent of beneficiaries will be held harmless, meaning for most, their Part B premium will remain stable at $104.90.

Unfortunately, the remaining 30 percent of Part B beneficiaries who are not held harmless, including federal retirees covered by CSRS and who do not receive Social Security benefits, are projected to shoulder the full cost of the 2016 premium increase, resulting in a disproportionate increase.  This group includes federal retirees who do not have their Medicare Part B premiums deducted from Social Security, individuals who are currently paying higher income-related premiums, and new 2016 Medicare enrollees.

NARFE is aggressively lobbying both Congress and the Administration against these steep increases, and has been since the July announcement by the Medicare Trustees.

NARFE’s work on this issue led to the introduction of legislation to protect those not held harmless in the House and Senate. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-OR, introduced the Protecting Medicare Beneficiaries Act of 2015, S. 2148, and Rep. Dina Titus, D-NV, introduced the Medicare Premium Fairness Act of 2015, H.R. 3696. Under these bills, Medicare premiums and deductibles would stay at 2015 levels. NARFE strongly supports these bills.

NARFE urges its members to send letters to their members of Congress asking them to cosponsor these bills.

In addition to the legislation, here are some of the ways NARFE is working to draw attention to this issue and prevent these steep increases:

  • NARFE developed an issue brief that explains the issue in greater depth.
  • NARFE Legislative Director Jessica Klement was interviewed on CBS Evening News on October 15 discussing this issue.
  • NARFE National President Richard G. Thissen issued a press release urging Congress to prevent this unfair premium increase on October 15, shortly after it was announced there will not be a COLA in 2016.
  • NARFE National President Richard G. Thissen joined congressional leaders at a press conference on the U.S. Capitol grounds on October 7 urging action on this issue. NARFE issued this press release following the press conference
  • Prior to the introduction of legislation, NARFE helped build a large coalition of 70 diverse organizations that sent a joint letter asking congressional leaders to advance a solution on this issue.

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact the NARFE Legislative Department at leg@narfe.org or 703-838-7760, ext. 201.

National Active and Retired

FEDERAL EMPLOYEES Association

NARFE (National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association) 606 N. Washington St., Alexandria, VA 22314, Phone: (703) 838-7760, Fax: (703) 838-7785.

 

This is the only website that reflects the official opinions and positions of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE). Opinions and/or positions that appear on any other site bearing NARFE's name or seal are not necessarily those of NARFE. Click here for Privacy Statement.   NARFE has been certified by Dun & Bradstreet.

2016 Medicare Part B Premium Increase and Its Effect on Federal Retirees

Updated: November 12, 2015

The Department of Health and Human Services has officially released the Medicare Part B premium rates for 2016, as seen in the chart below.

For those not held harmless, the standard Medicare Part B premium baseline is $118.80 per month, plus a $3 surcharge. As such, premiums for most federal retirees who do not receive Social Security will be $121.80. This is slightly lower than the projected rate following the budget agreement, which was $123.70. Individuals held harmless will continue to pay $104.90 in 2016.

The chart below, which was taken from the official Medicare website, shows the 2016 premium rates for those not held harmless, including rates for individuals who pay higher premiums due to their income level.

NOTE: These figures include the surcharge, which vary by income level. The surcharges, by income level, are $3, $4.20, $6, $7.80 and $9.60.


Updated: October 27, 2015

The White House and congressional leaders struck a deal, on October 27, to prevent a disproportionate 52 percent increase in Medicare Part B premiums in 2016. The compromise was included as part of a larger budget deal that lifted sequestration caps for the next two upcoming fiscal years (2016 and 2017), and raised the national debt limit.

Per the budget agreement, the standard Medicare Part B premium baseline is projected to be $120.70 per month for 2016. Simply, premiums for those held harmless will not change; they will remain stable at $104.90 in 2016. For most beneficiaries who are not held harmless, premiums will rise to $120.70, plus a surcharge, as explained below.

To make up for the lost revenue to the Medicare Trust Fund as a result of lower premiums, beneficiaries will be charged a monthly surcharge of $3, starting in 2016. The $3 surcharge will not apply to those held harmless this year, but it will apply to those individuals in future years in which they are not held harmless. As such, premiums for most federal retirees who do not receive Social Security are projected to be $123.70. Medicare beneficiaries who pay higher premiums due to their income level would see their premiums adjusted from the $120.70 baseline, plus any surcharge. The surcharge is expected to last five years.

NARFE President Richard Thissen issued the following response: “NARFE has been sounding the alarm on this issue since July, and has been working continuously to urge Congress to find a solution. This fix may not be perfect, but it is a major victory. I want to thank the thousands of NARFE members who wrote or called their members of Congress to push them to address this issue.”  

To read NARFE’s press release on this issue, please click here.


Updated October 21, 2015

Medicare Part B premiums are expected to increase disproportionately, to the tune of 52 percent, in 2016 for those who do not pay their Medicare premiums through their Social Security benefits, including Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) retirees who receive no Social Security benefits, as well for those who pay higher premiums due to their income. Currently the premiums are slated to rise from $104.90 to $159.30 per month.

This is due to the effect of the so-called “hold harmless” provision, which states that the dollar increase in the Part B premium is limited to the dollar increase in an individual’s Social Security benefit. With no cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), an estimated 70 percent of beneficiaries will be held harmless, meaning for most, their Part B premium will remain stable at $104.90.

Unfortunately, the remaining 30 percent of Part B beneficiaries who are not held harmless, including federal retirees covered by CSRS and who do not receive Social Security benefits, are projected to shoulder the full cost of the 2016 premium increase, resulting in a disproportionate increase.  This group includes federal retirees who do not have their Medicare Part B premiums deducted from Social Security, individuals who are currently paying higher income-related premiums, and new 2016 Medicare enrollees.

NARFE is aggressively lobbying both Congress and the Administration against these steep increases, and has been since the July announcement by the Medicare Trustees.

NARFE’s work on this issue led to the introduction of legislation to protect those not held harmless in the House and Senate. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-OR, introduced the Protecting Medicare Beneficiaries Act of 2015, S. 2148, and Rep. Dina Titus, D-NV, introduced the Medicare Premium Fairness Act of 2015, H.R. 3696. Under these bills, Medicare premiums and deductibles would stay at 2015 levels. NARFE strongly supports these bills.

NARFE urges its members to send letters to their members of Congress asking them to cosponsor these bills.

In addition to the legislation, here are some of the ways NARFE is working to draw attention to this issue and prevent these steep increases:

  • NARFE developed an issue brief that explains the issue in greater depth.
  • NARFE Legislative Director Jessica Klement was interviewed on CBS Evening News on October 15 discussing this issue.
  • NARFE National President Richard G. Thissen issued a press release urging Congress to prevent this unfair premium increase on October 15, shortly after it was announced there will not be a COLA in 2016.
  • NARFE National President Richard G. Thissen joined congressional leaders at a press conference on the U.S. Capitol grounds on October 7 urging action on this issue. NARFE issued this press release following the press conference
  • Prior to the introduction of legislation, NARFE helped build a large coalition of 70 diverse organizations that sent a joint letter asking congressional leaders to advance a solution on this issue.

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact the NARFE Legislative Department at leg@narfe.org or 703-838-7760, ext. 201.

National Active and Retired

FEDERAL EMPLOYEES
Association



JOIN NOW!


Renew now!



NARFE (National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association) 606 N. Washington St., Alexandria, VA 22314, Phone: (703) 838-7760, Fax: (703) 838-7785.

 

This is the only website that reflects the official opinions and positions of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE). Opinions and/or positions that appear on any other site bearing NARFE's name or seal are not necessarily those of NARFE. Click here for Privacy Statement.   NARFE has been certified by Dun & Bradstreet.