Action required to limit Medicare Part B rate increase

The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System is asking members and retirees to contact their Congressional representatives and ask them to prevent a 20 percent rate hike for Medicare Part B premiums.

Let your senators and representatives know today that OPERS retirees should not be expected to bear the entire cost of any increase in Medicare Part B premiums.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is poised to boost 2017 Part B premiums for most OPERS members by an estimated $28 per month beginning in January unless Congress acts now. Part B covers some medical supplies, doctor’s visits and outpatient services.

Because time is of the essence, we’ve prepared a page on the OPERS website to make it easy to call or write your members of Congress.

Only a few groups, including Medicare participants who do not draw Social Security retirement benefits, will see their premiums spike in January. Projections indicate the monthly rate will increase to about $150, up from the current rate of $121.80. The reason: A small increase in the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment will trigger protections for most Medicare Part B participants who draw Social Security.

OPERS believes retired public employees in Ohio should not be part of a minority bearing the brunt of increased Medicare costs. Facing a similar situation last year, Congress took common-sense steps to limit the Medicare Part B premium increases.

Contact Congress NOW to stop the increase in Medicare Part B premiums.

Michael Pramik

Michael Pramik is communication strategist for the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System and editor of the PERSpective blog. As an experienced business journalist, he clarifies complex pension policies and helps members make smart choices to secure their retirement.

Michael Pramik

Communication Strategist

  • Does the Medicare (age 65) Part B premium drop back down once you start to draw Social Security (age 66) if you are one of those people who are not drawing SS retirement benefits when you start on MC?

    • David,

      The Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program says that it won’t drop down, but it’s possible you would not have to pay the next increase once you are drawing Social Security and have the Med B payment auto-deducted. We recommend that you refer further questions to Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE.

      — Ohio PERS

  • Please do not increase the cost of Medicare. My income is limited and I already can’t afford the cost it is now. Please consider my request.

    • Congress should also remove the Windfall Elimination Provision. Other people who work under both Social Security and a pension other than a Public Employees Pension can draw on both. Our income is unfairly and artificially limited and then unfairly and artificially reduce by costs passed on to us. We worked for government but government does not work for us.

  • Just because I don’t receive SS doesn’t mean you can dip into my retirement check. PLEASE stop this Medicare increase of 20percent and straighten out the Social Security program. As it is, if my husband dies before me I likely would only get $300 of his check, that is just not right. Some day you are going to be retired but unfortunately not at the monetary rate we are at. So start thinking of your constituents and where they are coming from with such limited incomes. Work on the problem and quit the shell game. STOP the increase!
    Thank you for your time and assistance.

  • AFTER WORKING AND CONTRIBUTING FOR 56 YEARS, PEOPLE LIKE ME DON’T DESERVE THOSE INCREASES IN COST. LIVING ON A FIXED INCOME IS HARD ENOUGH WITHOUT THE GOVERNMENT JABBING YOU FOR MORE MONEY.

  • We called Tim Ryans office and they called back and said they have nothing to do with what Medicare Part B will charge next ye.ar, they don’t vote on it

    • Thank you for your outreach to Congressman Ryan. His staff is correct, Congress does not set Medicare rates. However, we are asking Congress to take action to protect public employee retirees from paying the full increase in 2017 Medicare Part B premiums that most Social Security recipients will be exempt from paying. Facing a similar situation last year, Congress stepped in to limit the 2016 Medicare Part B premium increases for public servants like OPERS retirees. Thank you again for your support.

      Ohio PERS

  • I contributed to PERS, STRS, SERS and Social Security during my working years and unfortunately I was short on credits to get Social Security. All the money that I contributed to Social Security was lost to me. I did have enough credits for Medicare and now that my husband’s insurance has dropped me I rely on medicare alone to pay for my medical insurance. “Only a few groups, including Medicare participants who do not draw Social Security retirement benefits, will see their premiums spike in January. Projections indicate the monthly rate will increase to about $150, up from the current rate of $121.80. The reason: A small increase in the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment will trigger protections for most Medicare Part B participants who draw Social Security.” Since both of us do not draw SS, my husband and I will bear the full cost of this increase. We chose public service as careers because we believed in the principle of making a difference in our community. We both worked in Public Health. PLEASE stop this Medicare increase of 20percent! We are on small fixed incomes and can’t afford this!

    • Leave my medicare alone. The propose rate is much to high and only effects retirees. You need to stop the propose increase or you will receive my vote.

    • Jim,

      We’ve prepared a page on the OPERS website (https://www.opers.org/medb) to make it easy to call or write your members of Congress. The section on the right side of the page provides instructions on how to find your representative.

      Thank you for your help!

      Ohio PERS

  • This whole issue is disturbing to me.
    My husband and I are both opera retirees.
    My husband paid into Social Security
    and I
    Did not. His Medicare Part B is paid out of his
    social security. I was advised by the SS
    Office that I am not eligible to get any of his
    SS until he dies.
    So each month I get
    billed for my Medicare Part B.
    I feel that OPERS is letting we retirees down.
    We gave OPERS years of service and now
    they are coming to the retirees for monetary
    help to keep Socisl Security from running out
    out of money.
    If OPERS would stop allowing their employees
    To RETIRE and then RETURN to work
    and get. Second paycheck (Double Dip)
    Social Security Would Not be running out
    Of money.
    Thank You

    • Thank you for your comments, Karen. You should know that re-employment is an employer decision that is cost-neutral to OPERS. (It doesn’t save us any money, and it doesn’t cost us more either.)

      Ohio PERS

  • • Without Congressional action, many of Ohio public sector retirees will face a 20% or higher increase in their Medicare Part B premiums. They are not held harmless under federal law, as are about 70% of Medicare recipients. Retired public sector employees in Ohio, who don’t receive Social Security benefits, should not be expected to carry the burden of paying for all the increased costs in Part B.
    • Mitigate the impact of this unfair and unreasonable burden by supporting a legislative solution now to protect me and other OPERS retirees with Medicare coverage from the unintended consequences resulting from the hold harmless provision protecting other Social Security recipients.
    Thank you for your time and listening to me. Judy Broermann

    • Judith,

      Thanks for your input. If you can, please use the link on the blog to contact your representative.

      –Ohio PERS

  • please don’t increase the tax. should you be increase taxes to rich we were a hard working people that helped build this nation. we deserve a break don’t you think

    • Marie,

      Thanks for your input. If you can, please use the link on the blog to contact your representative.

      –Ohio PERS

  • Are we talking about contacting Ohio’s senators and representatives or our U.S. ones? My wife and I are both OPERS retirees and obviously opposed to any decrease in our benefits. However, we now live in South Carolina and have no Ohio senators nor representatives to contact. We can contact our U.S. congressman, if that would be of benefit.

    • Ron,

      We’re talking only about U.S. representatives and senators, because the Medicare Part B rates are set by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which Congress oversees.

      –Ohio PERS

  • Re: The 20% Medicare increase for 2017, I received a response from Marcia Fudge, my Representative stating “On October 30th, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1314, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 included language to Medicare Part B. The bill lends money from the U.S. Treasury to the Medicare trust fund to cover the cost of moderating the increase. To repay the loan, Medicare beneficiaries would be charged a monthly $3 surcharge beginning next year.”

    • Susan,

      That was the fix that Congress made last year to avoid a steep Medicare Part B premium increase for 2016. We need them to do the same now for next year.

      –Ohio PERS

  • Michael Pramik,

    I sent the appropriate emails to my representatives. I hope that it will help our situation.
    Thanks for the heads-up and thoughtful assistance regarding this important subject!
    Note that the total increase for the recent two year period is a whopping 44% for many of us not receiving a Social Security benefit.

  • Am I missing something?!
    OPERS has nothing to do with the anticipated increase in Medicare Part B premiums. No??
    OPERS is simply encouraging contact to our reps in Congress to take action against it.
    We need to be urging OPERS to retain the small subsidy we receive to offset the premium.
    The Board has seen fit to discontinue that after December 2016.
    That being said, I intend to contact my representatives about this unfair, 20% premium increase, for non SS recipients. Fixed income = Don’t mess with us! We’re short as it is.

  • We’re retired and living in California after a long Ohio University career.

    We sent email to our California Representative and both Senators.

    Also, sent email to Ohio Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman. (It’s good to know that their websites accept email from out-of-state — many congressional sites do not.)

    So all you out-of-state retirees, please include the Ohio folks when you write!
    https://www.brown.senate.gov/contact/email
    https://www.portman.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact-forma

    OPERS, you might want to encourage this!

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