The Basics

Medicare Part B Premiums and Social Security Benefits
November 24, 2015


Sally Coberly, PhD


This paper describes the annual determination of beneficiaries' premiums for voluntary Medicare Part B coverage and a provision known as "hold harmless." The hold-harmless provision prevents a beneficiary's Social Security payments from being reduced as a result of an increase in the Part B premium. Because there was no cost-of-living increase for Social Security benefits for 2016, the hold-harmless provision will be in effect. This paper discusses what happens to premiums in 2016 for beneficiaries who are not held harmless—new beneficiaries, beneficiaries who do not participate in Social Security, those who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, and higher-income beneficiaries who pay the income-related premium.

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For more information, see the 2015 Annual Report of the Boards of Trustees of the Federal Hospital Insurance and Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund.

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