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Possible near 3% SS hike for 2019?
Old 07-09-2018, 08:35 AM   #1
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Possible near 3% SS hike for 2019?

No one knows for sure, but interesting read https://www.fool.com/retirement/2018...2019-cola.aspx
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Old 07-09-2018, 08:45 AM   #2
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Certainly possible, if you look at the trend.
But it would take sustained increases through the summer and historically that's somewhat unlikely. Should be good for at least another 2% though IMHO.

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Old 07-09-2018, 09:20 AM   #3
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2% would be fine, but will they raise the 134 Medicare Part B premium?
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Old 07-09-2018, 11:13 AM   #4
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And for some people who currently pay less than $134 based on hold harmless, all or a portion of their COLA increase will get absorbed.... right?
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Old 07-09-2018, 11:35 AM   #5
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And for some people who currently pay less than $134 based on hold harmless, all or a portion of their COLA increase will get absorbed.... right?

Right.
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Old 07-09-2018, 11:41 AM   #6
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.

I read the SS COLA might be a little more than 3%
and the 2019 Medicare B premium either might not
increase at all or only increase a couple of dollars.
This means we might actually get to keep most
of the SS increase in 2019.
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Old 07-09-2018, 11:47 AM   #7
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And for some people who currently pay less than $134 based on hold harmless, all or a portion of their COLA increase will get absorbed.... right?
My DGF was caught up last year with the increase.
This brings another concept into play!!!!
When one is deciding when to take SS, the "hold harmless" concept is sometimes factored into the decision (perhaps a more minor part of the equation), so if one ends up not really being held harmless over a period of years, how useful is this part of the equation?
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Old 07-09-2018, 12:05 PM   #8
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My DGF was caught up last year with the increase.
This brings another concept into play!!!!
When one is deciding when to take SS, the "hold harmless" concept is sometimes factored into the decision (perhaps a more minor part of the equation), so if one ends up not really being held harmless over a period of years, how useful is this part of the equation?
Itís temporary. You eventually catch back up.

If subject to IRMAA you are never held harmless. Neither are first year Medicare folks.
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Old 07-09-2018, 12:13 PM   #9
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My DGF was caught up last year with the increase.
This brings another concept into play!!!!
When one is deciding when to take SS, the "hold harmless" concept is sometimes factored into the decision (perhaps a more minor part of the equation), so if one ends up not really being held harmless over a period of years, how useful is this part of the equation?

The "hold harmless" provision guarantees your current SS amount will not go down due to an increase in your Medicare B premium. But that guarantee does NOT cover the yearly COLA [if any.] So some or all your COLA could go to a Medicare B premium increase. This happened to many people in 2018.

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Old 07-09-2018, 12:22 PM   #10
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Itís temporary. You eventually catch back up.

If subject to IRMAA you are never held harmless. Neither are first year Medicare folks.

2017 was my first year. My SS amount did decrease to pay the $134 a month Medicare B premium while the "hold harmless" group was paying less. But I was able to enjoy all of the 2018 COLA [while the "hold harmless" group was catching up.]

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Old 07-09-2018, 01:19 PM   #11
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The "hold harmless" provision guarantees your current SS amount will not go down due to an increase in your Medicare B premium. But that guarantee does NOT cover the yearly COLA [if any.] So some or all your COLA could go to a Medicare B premium increase. This happened to many people in 2018.

.
Yes that is my point in that how valuable is the hold harmless aspect when deciding whether to take SS early, if it eventually gets caught up.
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Old 07-09-2018, 01:47 PM   #12
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Yes that is my point in that how valuable is the hold harmless aspect when deciding whether to take SS early, if it eventually gets caught up.


I took early SS at age 62 had COLAs but no Medicare B premium until eligible for Medicare at age 65. In 2017 at age 65 I paid the Medicare B premium in effect at that time, $134 a month. Now, beginning in 2018, I am not subject to IRMAA and I am protected by that same hold harmless provision. Now it doesn't matter how much my Medicare B premium goes up, my SS amount will never go down [although future COLA increases might be affected.]

Disturbingly, after reading some recent news articles, I get the impression the media is trying to spin the SS "hold harmless" provision as a negative... when it actually serves to protect SS recipients.

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Old 07-09-2018, 02:04 PM   #13
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Disturbingly, after reading some recent news articles, I get the impression the media is trying to spin the SS "hold harmless" provision as a negative... when it actually serves to protect SS recipients.

.

I can actually see both sides of this argument as being valid. On one hand, you have seniors, many of whom live on SS alone, needing to maintain that check in order to live. On the other hand, the Medicare fund is seriously underfunded. By allowing hundreds of thousands of SS recipients not pay their full share, it only makes this worse. It's a conundrum for sure.
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Old 07-09-2018, 02:25 PM   #14
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I can actually see both sides of this argument as being valid. On one hand, you have seniors, many of whom live on SS alone, needing to maintain that check in order to live. On the other hand, the Medicare fund is seriously underfunded. By allowing hundreds of thousands of SS recipients not pay their full share, it only makes this worse. It's a conundrum for sure.



If it weren't for the hold harmless provision, the ever increasing Medicare B premium would eventually eat away at the already low SS income for the poorest among us who can least afford it.

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Old 07-09-2018, 02:37 PM   #15
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I suppose theoretically the lower SS recipients could never see a COLA increase if Medicare increases always outstrip the COLA amounts, right?
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Old 07-09-2018, 03:00 PM   #16
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I suppose theoretically the lower SS recipients could never see a COLA increase if Medicare increases always outstrip the COLA amounts, right?


That hasn't happened... yet.

But insurance premium [not just Medicare B] increases are now outpacing almost everthing else.

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Old 07-09-2018, 07:20 PM   #17
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New to this 'Social Security thing'......so please bear with me.......
1. Does the increase (if given) only apply to the amount you receive if your ARE ALREADY receiving benefits? Or does it also include an increase to the amount you WILL get if you have delayed receiving benefits?

2. If someone is receiving spousal benefits (50% of their spouses amount), will they be getting a portion of the percentage of increase also? Or does it not apply in any way to spousal benefits?

Thanks from a new "member" of the Social Security crowd !!!!
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Old 07-09-2018, 07:51 PM   #18
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I suppose theoretically the lower SS recipients could never see a COLA increase if Medicare increases always outstrip the COLA amounts, right?
Yes, theoretically. But, practically, that's unlikely over the long term.

Consider "low" retirees getting about $900/month. A 2% COLA adjustment adds $18 to their monthly checks. If they are paying $134 for Medicare part B, the Medicare premium would have to go up by 18/134 = 13% for the Medicare premium to absorb all their SS COLA adjustment.

Although a combination of 2% CPI increase and a 13% Medicare increase is possible, especially for one year, it seems to me that is an unlikely year-after-year situation.

It took about 13 years for the Medicare premium to double (from 2004 to 2017). This is an annual increase of less than 6%. During the same time period, the CPI-W grew at about 2% per year. Those number seem more likely looking forward to me.

OTOH, even though the 2%/6% situation allows for some SS COLA increase, it chews up a big chunk. Medical costs have gone up faster than average costs, and retirees spend a larger share of their incomes on medical bills. The hold harmless provision does very little to protect SS recipients from the long term effects of that.
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Old 07-09-2018, 08:40 PM   #19
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New to this 'Social Security thing'......so please bear with me.......
1. Does the increase (if given) only apply to the amount you receive if your ARE ALREADY receiving benefits? Or does it also include an increase to the amount you WILL get if you have delayed receiving benefits? It will apply to any future amount you will get on your own benefits if you are delaying claiming those benefits.

2. If someone is receiving spousal benefits (50% of their spouses amount), will they be getting a portion of the percentage of increase also? Or does it not apply in any way to spousal benefits? All people receiving SS will receive the COLA increase if one is granted.

Thanks from a new "member" of the Social Security crowd !!!!

This is my understanding.
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Old 07-10-2018, 07:18 AM   #20
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It just occurred to me that, by choosing a restricted application with spousal, I have delayed starting the full Medicare increase. So, hold harmless has been based on COLA increases on my small spousal benefit instead of the larger benefit. Had I taken my own benefit at full retirement I probably would have already been paying the full part B increase. As it is, I am still paying $10 less than full premium. I wonder if they will claw back the difference when I switch to my age 70 benefit or just leave the past as is and start over with part B premium amounts.
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