On Monday, November 2, President Obama signed into law the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015.
Among its provisions, the two-year budget deal sets 2016 Medicare Part B premium rates. Because of a hold harmless provision in the Social Security Act, individuals who pay for their premiums through Social Security will see their 2016 monthly rates remaining at $104.90, the same as in 2015.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has not yet indicated the new 2016 Medicare Part B premium rates for the approximately 30 percent of participants who do not have their premium payments deducted from their monthly Social Security benefits and for those in higher income brackets. Prior to the law, the standard premium was due to rise by 52 percent in 2016.
To pay for a lowering of this increase, the new law allows the government to issue a loan to Medicare that will be repaid through a surcharge added to the premium rates of those not held harmless under the provisions of the Social Security Act.
Other parts of the legislation raises the limit on the government’s debt through March 2017 and sets a roadmap for federal spending through fiscal years 2016 and 2017.