RRB: Medicare Part B premiums for 2017

Published: December 1, 2016

RRB_sealThe Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has announced that the standard monthly Part B premium will be $134.00 in 2017. However, most Medicare beneficiaries will not pay this amount. By law, Part B premiums for current enrollees cannot increase by more than the amount of the cost-of-living adjustment for social security (railroad retirement tier I) benefits.

Since that adjustment is 0.3 percent in 2017, about 70 percent of Medicare beneficiaries will see only a slight increase in their Part B premiums. The higher premium amount will apply to new enrollees in the program, and certain beneficiaries will continue to pay higher premiums based on their modified adjusted gross income.

The monthly premiums that include income-related adjustments for 2017 will be $187.50; $267.90; $348.30 or $428.60, depending on the extent to which an individual beneficiary’s modified adjusted gross income exceeds $85,000 (or $170,000 for a married couple). The highest rate applies to beneficiaries whose incomes exceed $214,000 (or $428,000 for a married couple). The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services estimates that less than 5 percent of Medicare beneficiaries pay the larger income-adjusted premiums.

Beneficiaries in Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage plans pay premiums that vary from plan to plan. Beginning in 2011, the Affordable Care Act required Part D beneficiaries whose modified adjusted gross income exceeds the same income thresholds that apply to Part B premiums to also pay a monthly adjustment amount. In 2017, the adjustment amount ranges from $13.30 to $76.20.

The Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) withholds Part B premiums from benefit payments it processes. The agency can also withhold Part C and D premiums from benefit payments if an individual submits a request to his or her Part C or D insurance plan.

The following tables show the income-related Part B premium adjustments for 2017. The Social Security Administration (SSA) is responsible for all income-related monthly adjustment amount determinations.  To make the determinations, SSA uses the most recent tax return information available from the Internal Revenue Service. For 2017, that will usually be the beneficiary’s 2015 tax return information. If that information is not available, SSA will use information from the 2014 tax return.

Those railroad retirement and social security Medicare beneficiaries affected by the 2017 Part B and D income-related premiums will receive a notice from SSA by December 2016.  The notice will include an explanation of the circumstances where a beneficiary may request a new determination.  Persons who have questions or would like to request a new determination should contact SSA after receiving their notice.

Additional information about Medicare coverage, including specific benefits and deductibles, can be found at www.medicare.gov