Slight increase in Medicare’s outpatient ‘Part B’ premium

WASHINGTON (AP) — Medicare says its “Part B” premium for outpatient care will rise by just $1.50 a month next year. That means retirees should be able to keep more of their recently-announced Social Security cost-of-living increase.

Medicare officials said Friday the standard premium will be $135.50 a month for 2019. “Part B” of Medicare covers doctor visits and outpatient care, while “Part A” covers hospitalization.

The annual outpatient deductible will increase by only $2, to $185 next year. That’s the amount beneficiaries are responsible for before Medicare starts paying.

The inpatient deductible will increase by $24, to $1,364 in 2019.

Just Thursday, Social Security announced a 2.8 percent cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, the highest in 7 years. It works out to an estimated $39 a month for the average retired worker.

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