Last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the Medicare Part B premium for 2020. Starting January 1, the standard Part B premium will increase from $135.50 to $144.60 per month.
This increase comes on the heels of the recently announced cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for 2020. Next year individuals will see an increase of 1.6% in their Social Security benefits—an average of about $24 per month. In addition to the updated premium amounts, CMS announced an increase in the Medicare Part B annual deductible, from $185 in 2019 to $198 in 2020.
While it appears that the Part B premium increase will be offset by the COLA for many beneficiaries, any small relief that was expected from the COLA will be diminished for Medicare households with budgets that are already strained. Half of all people with Medicare have annual incomes of $26,200 or less and struggle to pay for their health care, especially the rising cost of prescription drugs.
For some, there are federal and state programs that can help with the cost of Medicare premiums and prescription drugs. For information about these programs visit Medicare Interactive or contact the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP).