The new maximum standard Medicare Part B premium will increase from $121.80 in 2016 to $134.00, effective January 1, 2017. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) estimates that about 30% of Medicare beneficiaries will pay this higher rate. The remaining 70% of Medicare beneficiaries will see their Medicare Part B premium increase from $104.90 in 2016 to an average of about $109.00 per month in 2017, due to the statutory “hold harmless” provision designed to protect seniors and the 0.3% cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) for Social Security benefits in 2017.
Medicare beneficiaries subject to the “hold harmless” provision currently have their Medicare Part B premiums deducted from their Social Security checks and have incomes of $85,000 or less ($170,000 or less for joint tax filers). However, those who are: 1) new Medicare Part B beneficiaries in 2017, 2) beneficiaries who do not currently have the Medicare Part B premium withheld from their Social Security benefit, or 3) higher-income beneficiaries, will pay the standard monthly premium amount of $134.00. The Social Security Administration will inform Medicare beneficiaries who are subject to the “hold harmless” provision the exact amount they will pay for Medicare Part B in 2017.
If you are currently eligible to receive a reimbursement for your Medicare Part B premium, you will need to provide LAFPP with documentation indicating how much you will pay for your Part B premium in 2017 in order for us to apply the correct reimbursement amount in your pension check. We expect to apply the new Part B premium reimbursements to the February 2017 pension check. You will continue to be reimbursed at your current 2016 reimbursement rate until we receive adequate proof of your 2017 premium paid. You will have up to a year to submit your documentation and you will receive reimbursement retroactively to January 1, 2017.
Retired Members and Qualified Survivors can receive a Part B reimbursement if they are eligible for a health subsidy and are enrolled in both Medicare Parts A and B. Please refer to the “Frequently Asked Questions” below on how to submit proof of your 2017 Part B premium. You may also contact the Medical and Dental Benefits Section by calling (213) 279-3115 or toll free at (844) 88-LAFPP ext. 93115 if you have any questions.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1) My Medicare Part B premium is deducted from my monthly Social Security payment. What document do I need to submit to receive my correct Part B reimbursement amount?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) is in the process of mailing the Form SSA-4926 SM Statement (“Your New Benefit Amount” Statement) to all Social Security beneficiaries who are enrolled in Medicare. A sample copy of this statement is provided in the link below on page 1 of the attachment with the Medicare Part B premium amount located as highlighted in yellow.
Please make a copy of the statement and either: (1) Scan or take a picture of the statement and email it to: firstname.lastname@example.org; (2) Fax a copy of the statement to (213) 628-7782 “Attn. MDB Section”; or (3) Mail it to LAFPP, Attn: Medical & Dental Benefits, 701 E. 3rd Street, Suite 200, Los Angeles, CA 90013. Remember, you may submit your documentation at any time during 2017 and retroactively receive your full 2017 Part B basic premium reimbursement.
2) I receive a monthly Social Security payment, but I received a letter that informed me that I pay a higher Part B premium based on my income level (Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amount, i.e. IRMAA). May I send in the letter as proof of my Part B premium?
Yes, you may submit a copy of the first page of the letter that contains your name, address and 2017 monthly Medicare Part B premium deduction to LAFPP as proof in the manner described in the answer to FAQ #1 above and will be reimbursed at the maximum $134.00 / month.
3) I receive a monthly Social Security payment, but I did not receive / cannot locate my “New Benefit Amount” Statement. What can I do?
The easiest way to acquire proof of your 2017 Medicare Part B basic premium is to create a “My Social Security” account on the SSA website: https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/. After creating your SSA account, you can request that a Benefit Verification Letter that serves as proof of your current Medicare coverage be generated and mailed to you (it may take up to 10 days for delivery). You may then submit it to LAFPP in the manner described in FAQ #1.
4) I am billed for my Medicare Part B premiums by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). What document do I need to submit to receive my correct 2017 Part B reimbursement amount?
If you do not qualify for Social Security income, but qualify for Medicare and pay your premiums directly, you need to submit the following:
A copy of your 2017 quarterly invoice statement (CMS 500 – Notice of Medicare Premium Payment Due) that has a 2017 monthly coverage date to the right of “Current amount due for Part A and/or Part B”. A sample copy of Form CMS 500 is provided in the link below on page 2 of the attachment with the coverage date period location highlighted in yellow. If your most recent statement shows 2016 coverage dates, wait until you receive your next statement showing 2017 coverage dates before submitting a copy to LAFPP in the same manner described in the answer to FAQ #1.
5) My spouse (non-LAFPP member) is currently enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. Does he/she need to submit Medicare Part B premium documentation?
No, only the pensioner who is currently receiving a Medicare Part B premium reimbursement needs to submit documentation to LAFPP.