Today’s announcement that there will be no Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) increase next year, for only the third time in 40 years, means that millions of seniors who rely on their Social Security to get by will once again find their expenses outpacing their Social Security benefit. For 30% of Medicare beneficiaries, Part B premiums are now projected to increase next year by 52%—up to $159.30 per month from $104.90. This increase will be also accompanied by an increase in the Part B deductible—up to $223 from $147.
“The average American senior simply can’t afford a triple-digit increase for their Medicare coverage. We have urged Congress to pass legislation to address this urgent problem looming for millions of seniors, the disabled and their families. For millions of seniors, this large Medicare hike is devastating and a result of a well-intended “hold harmless” provision that left out too many Medicare beneficiaries.
All of this was triggered by a zero COLA increase in Social Security for 2016, confirming yet again, that the current Social Security COLA formula isn’t accurately measuring seniors’ expenses. Seniors across this nation understand how important having an accurate measure of the increase in their real costs is to their day-to-day survival. While there has been a lot of talk in Washington about the need to find a more accurate COLA formula; unfortunately, that attention has largely focused on ways to cut the COLA even further. Leaving many Americans to wonder what’s less than zero? If accurate inflation protection for seniors is truly our goal, Congress needs to adopt a fully developed CPI for the elderly (CPI-E). Until then, we urge Congress to act quickly to mitigate the devastating Medicare hikes headed for millions of Americans who can’t afford them.” …Max Richtman, NCPSSM President/CEO
The National Committee is working with a large cross-section of the nation’s leading organizations representing seniors, people with disabilities, retirees, public service employees and health plans urging Congress to consider options that would prevent this Medicare hike from being implemented in 2016. The coalition has told the Senate:
“We are deeply concerned by the projected Part B premium and deductible increases, most notably for current and newly eligible beneficiaries living on low- and fixed incomes. In 2014, half of the Medicare population lived on annual incomes of $24,150 or less. Newly enrolled Medicare beneficiaries, those not collecting Social Security benefits—many of whom are retired public servants—and State Medicaid programs should not be expected to carry the burden of paying for increased costs in Part B through higher premiums and cost sharing.
As you consider options, we also encourage you to consider prior, bipartisan legislation, the Medicare Premium Fairness Act of 2009. This bill effectively extended the hold harmless to all Medicare beneficiaries and passed the U.S. House of Representatives with an overwhelming bipartisan majority.”
You can read the coalition letter to the Senate and also from the Leadership Council Of Aging Organizations.