The Medicare Trustees' June 2016 report signals a projected 2017 Medicare Part B premium increase of 20 percent for some people. However, Congress could still intervene this fall to prevent it. Out-of-pocket costs for people with Medicare are already extremely high.
The Medicare Part B premium, generally deducted from your Social Security check, is tied to the cost of delivering medical services -- doctors' visits, therapy services, lab tests and medical equipment. Medicare covers 75 percent of the cost of that care, and the premium covers the remaining 25 percent.
As many as one in three people who pay $121.80 a month for Medicare Part B in 2016 could see their premium increase to as much as $149. Because that's such a large increase, Congress may decide to reduce it some.
Wealthier people with Medicare are also likely to see a sizable premium increase. For the last decade, people with annual incomes above $85,000 (couples above $170,000) -- about six percent of the Medicare population -- pay much higher premiums than others with Medicare. In 2016, depending on their income, they pay between $170.50 and $389.80.
To learn more about the Trustees' projections over the next several years, click here. Here are some tips for choosing between traditional Medicare and a Medicare Advantage private insurance plan. For help understanding what to do if you're eligible for Medicare, here's a simple checklist.