[tabi] FW: [fcb-l] Medicare Watch

  • From: "Denyece Roberts MSW" <peace05@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 12 Nov 2015 21:59:53 -0500

From: Patricia A. Lipovsky via fcb-l [mailto:fcb-l@xxxxxxxxxxxx]
Sent: Thursday, November 12, 2015 6:11 PM
To: fcb-l@xxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [fcb-l] Medicare Watch

----- Original Message -----

From: Medicare Watch

Sent: Thursday, November 12, 2015 11:55 AM

Subject: CMS Releases New Part B Premium and Deductible for 2016

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Medicare Watch

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CMS Releases New Part B Premium and Deductible for 2016

November 12, 2015 Volume 6, Issue 43

Drastic Part B Premium and Deductible Increases Prevented

This week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)

announced that starting January 1st, the Part B premium will remain the same

for most people with Medicare, amounting to $104.90 per month. For

beneficiaries who are not held harmless and protected from premium

increases, the standard Part B premium will be $118.80. These beneficiaries

will also pay a $3 surcharge, bringing their total monthly cost to $121.80.

The Part B deductible will be $166 for all people with Medicare, up from


Thanks to bipartisan action by Congressional leaders and the

White House, steep and unprecedented increases in the 2016 Part B premium

and deductible were prevented. With no Social Security cost of living

adjustment in 2016, many beneficiaries and their families were facing a

nearly 50 percent increase in monthly premiums and an increase in their Part

B deductible up to $223.

To limit the magnitude of anticipated premium increases,

lawmakers agreed to lessen the increase, essentially offering a loan to

affected beneficiaries. Over time, this loan will be repaid through the

monthly premium surcharge. Half of all people with Medicare live on annual

incomes of $24,150 or less and cannot afford stark increases in their

monthly health expenses. By spreading the cost of the increased premium over

time and bringing down the cost of the deductible, Congress and the White

House blunted the impact of an unprecedented shock to Medicare households.

Read the announcement from CMS.

Read a statement from Medicare Rights.

AARP Advocates for Public Information on the Cost-Effectiveness

of Prescription Drugs

In a recent blog post on thehill.com, Debra B. Whitman, Vice

President of Policy Strategy and International Affairs of AARP, argues for

changes to the prescription drug market. Citing continually increasing

prices for both new and existing medications, Dr. Whitman urges the health

care system to push back against high prescription drug prices.

She provides examples of limited successes—where hospitals or

government insurers fought high prices and achieved reductions in medication

costs. Dr. Whitman maintains that these successes show that there is room

for pharmaceutical company profits even where lower prices prevail. Dr.

Whitman writes that manufacturers should be required to conduct studies and

release information about the comparative effectiveness of their medications

and lower-cost alternatives, and that U.S. policymakers should demand this

of pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Read the blog post.

Medicare Reminder

If you collect Social Security benefits and your Medicare Part B

premium is deducted from those benefits each month (this is the case for the

majority of people with Medicare), you may be protected under the hold

harmless provision. The hold harmless provision protects Social Security

recipients from paying higher Part B premium costs so long as:

- You are entitled to Social Security benefits for November and

December of the current year (2015);

- The Medicare Part B premium will be or was deducted from your

Social Security benefits in November 2015 through January 2016;

- You don’t already pay higher Part B premiums because of

Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA) eligibility; and

- You do not receive a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) large

enough to cover the increased premium. COLA is additional income given to

Social Security recipients to protect against inflation decreasing the

benefit’s purchasing power. There is not a COLA every year, and it is not

expected that there will be one in 2016.

The hold harmless provision does NOT protect you if:

- You are new to Medicare. Hold harmless does not apply to you

because you have not been enrolled in Medicare Part B long enough to


- You are subject to IRMAA.

- You are enrolled in a Medicare Savings Program (MSP). However,

the MSP should continue paying for your full Part B premium.

- You were enrolled in a Medicare Savings Program in 2015 but

lost the program because your income increased or you failed to recertify.

Note: If you qualify for the hold harmless provision but pay a

Part B late enrollment penalty, the penalty will not be waived, and may

increase. This is because the penalty will be calculated based on the new,

higher premium—even if you are not paying that higher amount. Thus while

your base Part B premium will not change, you’ll likely face a higher total

Part B premium bill due to the late enrollment penalty.

Learn more on Medicare Interactive.


If you are a caregiver interested in connecting with State

Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) representatives and

representatives from other national organizations who serve caregivers,

attend the AARP Virtual Caregiver Fair on Thursday, November 19th. This live

event offers you a convenient way to connect with important caregiving

resources, services, tools, and to other family caregivers. Drop in anytime

from 12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Pre-registration is required.

Register for the event here.

Stay up-to-date on Medicare policy and advocacy developments,

and learn about changes in Medicare benefits and rules with this weekly


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