No Social Security Raises, But Medicare May Go Up

Enroll in MedicareFor only the third time in 40 years, Social Security beneficiaries will see no increase in payments, since the cost of living has remained flat, mostly due to falling gas prices.

However, as a result, about one-third of Medicare recipients will face large premium increases unless Congress or the president acts.

Social Security benefits for 2016 will remain at 2015 levels. The average payment is $1,358 a month for individuals and $2,176 for couples. The maximum benefit will stay at $2,663 per month.

But a story on says that while Medicare beneficiaries who are also on Social Security will not see an increase in their Medicare premiums, about 30 percent of recipients — those who are not yet on Social Security or those who make more than $85,000 a year — may see premium hikes of about $50 a month, to $159.30. Some high-income recipients could see their premiums rise to $509.80 a month. Their Part B deductibles may also rise.

This is because the law says premiums must cover increases in costs. With 70 percent of beneficiaries shielded from premium increases because Social Security payments are flat, that means the other 30 percent — those not yet on Social Security — must make up the difference.

The article says Congress is unlikely to step in because it is basically dysfunctional. And President Obama’s ability to do something on his own may be limited.

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