Social Security, Medicare make changes in 2018

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Changes were made to Social Security and Medicare benefits and premium calculations effective in 2018. Here is a review:

Social Security
  • Social Security recipients will see a 2% hike in their benefits in 2018.
  • Individuals who are 62 through 65 by the end of 2018 can make up to $17,040 before they lose any benefits. There is no earnings cap once a beneficiary turns 66.
  • The Social Security wage base will be going up next year to $128,400, a $1,200 increase over this year’s cap.
  • The amount needed to qualify for coverage will rise to $1,320 a quarter. So, earning $5,280 anytime during 2018 will net the full four quarters of coverage. You need 40 quarters of coverage to qualify for Social Security retirement benefits.

For most, the 2018 monthly Medicare Part B premiums will average $130. However, the basic premium remains at $134 a month for some people. The group that will pay more includes individuals who first enroll in Part B for 2018, and those who do not have premiums deducted from monthly Social Security benefits.

Upper-income seniors will also pay more for Parts B and D coverage in 2018 if their modified adjusted gross incomes for 2016 exceeded $170,000 for joint filers or $85,000 for single people. Here, modified adjusted gross income (AGI) is AGI plus any tax-exempt interest. For Part B, they pay the higher $134 basic monthly premium plus an Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA). They will also owe a surcharge on their monthly Part D premiums, which they pay for coverage of prescription drugs.

For questions regarding Social Security and Medicare, call 888-556-0123.