Q: I recently read your answer to a federal retiree asking why her Medicare Part B deduction increased while her husband’s, a Social Security retiree, did not. Your response was that since Social Security retireees’ cost-of-living adjustment was zero, that was the reason his Medicare deduction did not increase. As a federal retiree, my cost-of-living adjustment for the last two years was zero also, however my Medicare deduction did increase. Can you tell my why?
A: I have to assume that you aren’t receiving a Social Security benefit. Otherwise you wouldn’t have had any increase in your Medicare Part deduction. The “hold-harmless” provision only applies to Social Security recipients who were already on the Social Security rolls when an increase in the Medicare Part B premium occurs. For them, if the Social Security COLA is zero, there isn’t an increase in their premiums. If the COLA is less than the premium increase, then their premiums match the COLA.