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Most Medicare beneficiaries won’t experience a high increase in premiums for 2017.

The Social Security Administration announced that the cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, for Social Security benefits will be 0.3 percent for 2017 and because of that low COLA, a statutory “hold harmless “ provision designed to protect seniors largely will prevent Part B (physician and outpatient hospital services) from increasing for about 70 percent of beneficiaries. That group will see an increase to about $109 from $104.90 for the past four years.

But the remaining 30 percent of beneficiaries will see an approximately 10 percent increase from their 2016 premium. Because of the special provision covering the other 70 percent, explains CMS, premiums for the remainder must cover most of the increase in Medicare costs for 2017 for all beneficiaries.

Those Medicare Part B beneficiaries not subject to the hold harmless provision include beneficiaries: who don’t receive Social Security benefits, who enroll in Part B for the first time in 2017, who are directly billed for Part B, who are dually eligible for Medicaid and have their premium paid by state Medicaid agencies, and who pay an income-related premium.

For more details from CMS, visit their website.

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