2016 Medicare, Healthcare, and Social Security Update

Now that you are settled in your 2016 resolutions, let’s look at changes in Medicare, healthcare and touch on Social Security.

MEDICARE:  In December 2015, the government announced the Part B premium of $121.80, however if an eligible was already receiving Part B benefits and paying from a social security check, their premium REMAINED at $104.90 for 2016.  The change affected people NOT paying through Social Security NEWLY eligible on or after January 1.  There is a rumor of Plan F –not being available soon.  There is talk that in 2020 Plan F will cease to exist.  Most enrolled in a Plan F by the writing of that change should remain eligible.  New enrollees would purchase a cost sharing plan.  For example, Plan G has the consumer owes the Part B deductible and then it is 100% coverage.

UNDER 65 HEALTHCARE:  The 2015-16 Open Enrollment will end January 31 and it seems individuals are beginning to take small steps understanding healthcare.gov, their benefits, carrier options and premiums.  Unfortunately most say it is not affordable and still extremely complicated.  That’s why I’m here for you!  The federal government set Out of Pocket Maximums for singles in 2016 at $6,850 and for a family $13,700.  In addition to these painful limits, we are paying MORE premiums due to regulation and taxes the law requires.  There is good news, more individuals have healthcare, but at a painfully slow rate.  In addition, because some have not been previously covered, major medical conditions with substantial costs are being treated.  This creates cost to the carrier well over premiums paid and at substantial annual costs to the individual.  Yes, there is still much work to be done!

SOCIAL SECURITY:  In April 2016 there will be a ‘sunset’ on two benefits available to married couples.  ‘File-and-Suspend’ and ‘File Restricted’ are two options married couples have to receive Social Security benefits.  At a VERY high level, these options typically allowed the younger and lower wage earner to receive potentially more monthly benefit from Social Security while the older and higher wage earner allowed their benefit to grow from normal retirement age to age 70.  If any of this sounds like it might fit you, contact your financial professional and have that discussion before April 30, 2016.