The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced the new Medicare premiums for 2018. Although there is no change in the premium for Medicare Part B in 2018, which is $134 per month, millions of individuals who receive Social Security benefits will end up with much higher Part B premiums. As a result, Social Security’s two percent cost of living adjustment (COLA) will do little, if anything, to improve finances for Social Security recipients.
Medicare Part B provides coverage for doctor’s visits, outpatient medical care, and the costs of durable medical equipment. Under Social Security regulations, increases in Medicare premiums cannot cause a yearly decline in Social Security benefits. However, about 30% of Medicare recipients still end up paying more, including individuals who have not yet begun receiving Social Security benefits or will begin receiving them in 2018, low-income people whose premiums are paid by state Medicaid agencies, and individuals who pay Medicare’s premium surcharges due to their higher income. For the remainder of Medicare beneficiaries, however, there have been almost no changes in Medicare premiums in the last two years due to a zero COLA increase in 2016 and a 0.3% increase in 2017. In 2018, however, this will change.
Some Medicare enrollees will receive a sufficient COLA to allow them to pay the entire $134 monthly premium without a reduction to their Social Security benefits. The COLA for the remaining beneficiaries, however, will not be sufficient to pay the premium. Therefore, these enrollees will pay smaller Medicare Part B premiums, based on their COLA. The ultimate outcome of these changes is that many Social Security recipients will receive little, if any, increase in their benefits for 2018.
Medical needs often land seniors in long-term care situations that can lead to abuse or neglect by caregivers. If you or a loved one is seriously injured as a result of elder abuse, or your family has suffered the loss of a loved one due to negligence by nursing home or assisted living facility staff, you may be entitled to compensation. This inquiry involves determining which party or entity was at fault for the accident, acted negligently, or otherwise caused the incident that led to your injuries or your loved one’s death. At Boller & Vaughan, our Madison assisted living facility and nursing home elder abuse lawyers can help you with these determinations, and support you through any personal injury or wrongful death claims that you may have.