For Mark Roberts’ Use: As retirement planners, we always remind our clients to anticipate potential rising costs throughout retirement. That way, you can adjust your budget and withdrawal schedule accordingly.

The cost of healthcare is one of those fluctuating expenses. While Medicare and supplemental insurance plans can help you keep your expenses more predictable, their premiums can and do change at times.

In 2019, many Medicare beneficiaries will indeed be paying slightly higher premiums. If you’re enrolled in Original Medicare (not Medicare Part C, or Advantage Plans), your premiums will be adjusted as following:

  • Part B standard premiums were raised just slightly, from $134 to $135.50, for most people (see below for exceptions)
  • The Part B annual deductible has been raised from $183 to $185
  • The Part A inpatient hospital deductible increased from $1,340 to $1,364 per benefit period

Most people on Original Medicare don’t have to pay a premium for Part A benefits, assuming the length of your career met certain requirements. That’s because we all pay taxes into Medicare during our working years. You do, however, still need to meet a deductible each year.

The above figures apply to standard Part B premiums only, and apply to individuals with taxable income of $85,000 or less, or to married couples with joint incomes of $170,000 or less. If your income falls above those limits, your Medicare premiums are already higher ($189.60 to $450.60), and your adjustment will differ from those listed above.

These increases are comparatively small, but the point to remember is that they are adjusted periodically. Over the length of your retirement (often 20 years or more, these days) you will find that your budget does need to change in order to accommodate gradually increasing premiums and deductibles. This issue perfectly illustrates the reasons behind planning for a retirement income that can gradually increase over time, as needed. Give us a call, and we’ll discuss that idea in more detail.