Medicare Part B Premium in Ver 2.35.0


Dan, I just ran version 2.35.0 and sorry but I found that the Medicare Part B premiums are not correct.
In 2015 our joint gross income - on which the 2017 premium is based - was less than $170,000. Since we've been collecting SS benefits for many years, our premium increase is limited to the amount of COLA we receive. In our case that's a joint premium of $222/month. ESPlanner is calculating $262.58/month for 2017 and then it increases to $267.92/month in future years.
James Mavrogenis
P.S. I reposted this question here since I wasn't sure it would be seen in the Medicare Part B question.


Please open a support ticket and upload your database.


What's the status of support ticket 1608?

Please see Darryl's update on the ticket.

This new release, ESPlanner v2.35.1, fixes your Medicare Part B premium issue, at least for this year.
I tweaked the assumption we make about last year’s premium to consider a zero COLA in the previous year.

The fundamental issue on Medicare premiums is that we don’t, and probably never will, collect enough input to get them correct in every possible case.
To do so, we’d need the modified adjusted gross income (MAGI), the Social Security retirement and spouse's or widow's benefits, and the Medicare Part B premium for both spouses for the prior two years.
Since it’s easy to work around any difference in the actual Medicare Part B premiums in the first year and those calculated by ESPlanner with a single special receipt in the current year I don’t think it’s worth the extra trouble and effort of inputting, and also updating every year, 16 additional inputs.

In summary this fixes the problem when there is a zero COLA, but not the general problem with arbitrary COLAs.
Which, can be easily addressed by a single special receipt in the first year,

I agree with you that it's probably not worth the effort. That means we need to find a way to offset the higher medicare premiums going forward. Any suggestions on how to offset the higher values keeping in mind that they are tax deductable. I could just add a non-taxable special receipt but what percent increase per year should I use. Since future Medicare Part B Premiums stay constant in current year dollars the program is increasing them by what percentage, 3%? I verified that the premium increase is not tied to the inflation rate I've inputed. I ran a case with zero percent inflation and the premium amounts going forward were unchanged.
I'd appreciate your thoughts on this.
James Mavrogenis

The hold harmless provision only affects your Social Security benefit temporarily, i.e. until future COLAs catchup to Medicare Part B premium increases.

This generally occurs in only one year for average Social Security benefit amounts and premium increases, and very rarely in more than two years. So, even those held harmless wind up paying the standard Medicare premium in at most a couple of years.

Therefore, you would generally only need a special receipt for one year to adjust for any difference in ESPlanner’s calculated value and your actual Medicare premium. There is no need for a percent increase per year for all future years.

Particularly, in your case, if next year’s COLA and Medicare Part B premiums are around their recent averages, then you will be back to paying the standard Medicare premium in 2018.
Even if the COLA in Jan 2018 were to be 0%, which is very unlikely, you’d almost assuredly be back to the standard premium in 2019.

Your standard Medicare premium stays constant in 2017 real dollars because you input that the real growth rate of Medicare premiums would be 0% on the Benefits tab of the Assumptions screen.

I think that is an unrealistic assumption. Medicare Part B premiums have generally increased at a nominal rate of 6% per year. Therefore, if you assume 3% inflation, which is higher than the average over the last 30 years, then the real growth rate of Medicare premiums would be about 3% per year.

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