Medicare Part B and Part D premiums will soon increase for most beneficiaries, likely consuming much of the cost-of-living increase in their Social Security benefits. Part B premiums do not vary with affordability except for the relatively few single beneficiaries with annual incomes exceeding $85,000 and the relatively few married beneficiaries with incomes exceeding $170,000. Consequently, premium levels and increases are often burdensome at low income levels. Rising health care costs leave the entire population with less to spend on nonhealth goods and services, and older adults are affected most because so much of their income goes to health care.
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