The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced in October the 2019 premiums for Medicare Part B.

For most Medicare beneficiaries, premiums, deductibles and surcharges will increase. Premiums will rise to $135.50 per month, an increase of $1.50. Medicare Part B deductibles will increase by $2.00 to $185. Retirees will also pay a different premium amount in 2019 if they fall into a different income-related category. This change happens once individual filers reach $85,001, or a joint-filer reaches $170,001, for income earned in 2017.

See the chart below for the complete Medicare Part B premiums:

The Social Security Administration uses the income reported two years ago to determine a Part B beneficiary’s premium. Thus, the income reported on a beneficiary’s 2017 tax return is used to determine whether the beneficiary must pay a higher monthly Part B premium in 2019. Beneficiaries whose income decreased significantly in the past two years may request that information from more recent years be used to calculate their premiums.

Automatic Social Security deduction information

For Medicare beneficiaries who have Medicare Part B premiums automatically deducted from Social Security benefits, the Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) must be large enough to cover the change in premium. Since many beneficiaries were already paying lower-than-standard premiums because of this rule, the 2.8 percent the 2019 cost-of-living adjustment won’t be enough to cover the increase to $135.50 per month. So, beneficiaries to whom this applies will pay a lower premium.

Reimbursement information

For those members receiving post-retirement medical benefits paid for by the state of New Jersey, the standard Medicare Part B premium is reimbursed in the member’s pension check. Any income-related adjustment that a member or his/her dependent pays—or that new enrollees pay—is reimbursed at the end of the year in which the adjustment is paid, only after the proper paperwork is filed with the Division of Pensions and Benefits. Notice on how to file for any income-related adjustment reimbursement will be sent to retirees, as well as be posted on the Division of Pensions and Benefits website, by early February.

Have questions?

If you have questions about your Medicare Part B premium, call 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227). Any questions regarding the reimbursement process should be directed to the New Jersey Division of Pensions and Benefits at 609-292-7524. Members also can visit “Letters to Retirees for any updates.

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