The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the 2017 premiums for the Medicare inpatient hospital (Part A) and physician and outpatient hospital services (Part B) programs.

Medicare Part B covers physician services, outpatient hospital services, certain home health services, durable medical equipment, and other items.

On October 18, 2016, the Social Security Administration announced that the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for Social Security benefits will be 0.3 percent for 2017.

Because of the low Social Security COLA, a statutory "hold harmless" provision designed to protect seniors, will largely prevent Part B premiums from increasing for about 70 percent of beneficiaries. This is the first premium increase in four years.

For the remaining roughly 30 percent of beneficiaries, the standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B will be $134.00 for 2017, a 10 percent increase from the 2016 premium of $121.80. Because of the "hold harmless" provision covering the other 70 percent of beneficiaries, premiums for the remaining 30 percent must cover most of the increase in Medicare costs for 2017 for all beneficiaries. This year, as in the past, the Secretary has exercised her statutory authority to mitigate projected premium increases for these beneficiaries, while continuing to maintain a prudent level of reserves to protect against unexpected costs. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will work with Congress as it explores budget-neutral solutions to challenges created by the "hold harmless" provision.

Medicare Part B beneficiaries not subject to the "hold harmless" provision include beneficiaries who do not receive Social Security benefits, those who enroll in Part B for the first time in 2017, those who are directly billed for their Part B premium, those who are dually eligible for Medicaid and have their premium paid by state Medicaid agencies, and those who pay an income-related premium. These groups represent approximately 30 percent of total Part B beneficiaries.

Since 2007, beneficiaries with higher incomes have paid higher Medicare Part B monthly premiums. These income-related monthly premium rates affect roughly five percent of people with Medicare. The total Medicare Part B premiums for high income beneficiaries for 2017 are shown in the following table:

Enrollees age 65 and over who have fewer than 40 quarters of coverage and certain persons with disabilities pay a monthly premium in order to receive coverage under Medicare Part A. Individuals who had at least 30 quarters of coverage or were married to someone with at least 30 quarters of coverage may buy into Part A at a reduced monthly premium rate, which will be $227 in 2017, a $1 increase from 2016. Uninsured aged and certain individuals with disabilities who have exhausted other entitlement and who have less than 30 quarters of Volume 20, No. 6 Medical Association of Billers Page 3 coverage will pay the full premium, which will be $413 a month, a $2 increase from 2016.

For more information on the 2017 Medicare Parts A and B premiums and deductibles visit:

MAB: MAB is dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in the development of medical billing and coding programs which are centered on the principles of encouragement, excellence, integrity, and service. To accomplish this Mission, they seek to achieve a balance among instructional development, teaching and service. They work to provide leadership in partnership with medical communities throughout the country and participate in efforts to create and promote relevant standards and develop relationships with organizations pursuing similar goals. www.e-medbill.com