Medicare Part B Premiums to Increase by 14.5%

 

Last updated 1/8/2022 at 7:20pm | View PDF

Social Security benefits may be increasing, but so are Medicare Part B premiums.

On November 12, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the 2022 premiums, deductibles and co-insurance amounts for the Medicare Part A and Part B programs.

The standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B enrollees will be $170.10 for 2022, an increase of $21.60 from $148.50 in 2021. The annual deductible for all Medicare Part B beneficiaries is $233 in 2022, an increase of $30 from the annual deductible of $203 in 2021.

These increases were not well received by seniors' groups such as The Senior Citizens League (TSCL), which issued a press release stating, "A 14.5% jump in the Medicare Part B premiums for 2022 spells trouble ahead for beneficiaries wondering where the money will come from to pay all the bills."

"The Part B increase from $148.50 to $170.10 per month is the highest since 2016 and will consume the entire annual cost of living adjustment (COLA) of Social Security recipients with the very lowest benefits, of about $365 per month," said Mary Johnson, a TSCL Social Security and Medicare policy analyst.


"Social Security recipients with higher benefits should be able to cover the $21.60 per month increase, but they may not wind up with as much left over as they were counting on," she added.

While the 5.9% COLA is the highest increase in four decades, Medicare Part B premiums grow even faster percentage wise almost every year, far outpacing the rate of growth in the COLA. A new TSCL survey found that 44% of Medicare recipients report spending from $160 to $495 a month on healthcare costs.

"That's a significant portion of income to spend on medical expenses, considering that the average monthly Social Security benefit (including retirees, disabled and survivors) is about $1,487," said Johnson. "These findings are particularly troubling because about 46% of our survey participants also report that they have no retirement savings to fall back on."

Johnson has found that rising Part B premiums have ranked as one of the fastest growing costs that older Americans face in retirement, increasing 274% since 2000.

Medicare Part B covers physician services, outpatient hospital services, certain home health services, durable medical equipment and certain other medical and health services not covered by Medicare Part A.

Each year, the Medicare Part B premium, deductible and coinsurance rates are determined according to the Social Security Act. According to the CMS, the increases in the 2022 Medicare Part B premium and deductible are due to:

• Rising prices and utilization across the health care system, along with anticipated increases in the intensity of care provided;

• Congressional action to significantly lower the increase in the 2021 Medicare Part B premium, which resulted in a $3 per beneficiary per month increase being continued through 2025.

• Additional contingency reserves due to the uncertainty regarding the potential

use of the Alzheimer's drug Aduhelm by people with Medicare.

 

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