October 20, 2015

Dear Mr. Myers,

Thank you for taking the time to contact me with your concerns about potential Medicare Part B premium increases for certain beneficiaries. Like you, I believe seniors on a fixed income should not be faced with unreasonable premium increases. Most seniors enrolled in Medicare Part B are expected to pay a monthly premium, which covers about 25 percent of the cost of the services provided under that section. Monthly Part B premiums—which help pay for physician services, outpatient care, and durable medical equipment—are automatically deducted from beneficiaries’ monthly Social Security payments. In years that monthly Social Security benefits are not increased, some seniors may face an increase in Part B premiums to make up for the growing cost of health care services. Most beneficiaries are protected by a “hold harmless” rule, which prevents increases in Part B premiums that exceed the dollar amount of the increase in their Social Security checks. The hold harmless rule protects approximately 70 percent of Part B participants, meaning their Social Security payments are not impacted. However, the remaining 30 percent of beneficiaries could shoulder the entire beneficiary share of the increase in Part B costs. This means some Part B beneficiaries could see their monthly premium increase by $50 or more. In addition, the Part B deductible for all beneficiaries will increase from $147 to $223. The beneficiaries who are not protected by the hold harmless rule include:

  • Low-income beneficiaries whose Part B premiums are paid by the Medicaid program;
  • High-income beneficiaries who are subject to income-related Part B premiums;
  • Those whose Medicare premiums are not deducted from Social Security benefits; and
  • New enrollees in 2016

To address this issue, S. 2148, the Protecting Medicare Beneficiaries Act, was introduced on October 7, 2015. If enacted into law, this legislation would prevent premium increases for 15 million beneficiaries and reduce the Part B deductible for all Medicare beneficiaries. The Protecting Medicare Beneficiaries Act is pending before the Senate Committee on Finance. Should this legislation come before the Senate for a vote, I will be sure to keep your thoughts in mind. It is a privilege to represent you and all Hoosiers in the Senate. Your continued correspondence is welcome and helps me to better represent our state. I encourage you to write, call, or email if my office can ever be of assistance. You can also check out my Facebook page and follow me on Twitter by visiting my



Joe Donnelly

U.S. Senator


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