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Social Security checks: How could Medicare Part B premiums reduce the monthly amount you’ll receive?

This part of Medicare is automatically deducted from your monthly check and there is no way to avoid this.

Social Security beneficiaries are likely to see a much smaller COLA applied to their benefits as inflation has slowed in the US.

Medicare Part B is the Medicare plan that includes doctor visits, diagnostic tests, and other out-of-hospital services. The standard monthly premium for enrollees of this plan is $164.90 in 2023 while the annual deductible for all Medicare Part B beneficiaries is $226.

People who receive Social Security benefits are enrolled in Medicare Part B with the premium deducted directly from your check. This means that a portion of your Social Security benefit is automatically used to pay for your Medicare Part B premium. If you don’t get benefits from Social Security you’ll get a premium bill from Medicare every three months.

However, there are systems in place to prevent people on Social Security having their benefit payments decrease because of Medicare price rises.

The Hold Harmless Provision is this safeguard. Under this provision, if the annual increase in Medicare Part B premiums is higher than the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for Social Security benefits, then these beneficiaries will not see their Social Security benefits reduced by the higher Medicare premiums.

What is the expected COLA adjustment for 2024?

According to the most recent estimate from The Senior Citizens League, one of the largest groups of non-partisan seniors in the country, Social Security’s cost-of-living adjustment for 2024 could be 3%.

This estimate was based on data from the consumer price index for the month of July, which rose 3.2% from the year before.

What other ways could your Medicare Part B premiums be increased?

Some individuals with higher incomes may be subject to income-related monthly adjustment amounts (IRMAA) for their Medicare Part B premiums. If your income exceeds certain thresholds, you’ll have to pay higher premiums for Medicare Part B.

If the Social Security Administration (SSA) determines you’re a higher-income beneficiary, you’ll pay a larger percentage of the total cost of Part B based on the income you normally report to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). You’ll pay monthly Part B premiums equal to 35%, 50%, 65%, 80%, or 85% of the total cost, insyead of the 25% usually paid.

These additional premiums are separate from the regular Part B premium and are paid directly to Medicare rather than being deducted from your Social Security check.