236,000 Wisconsinites to Face Massive Medicare Premium Hike Unless Congress Acts
Baldwin bill would prevent premium hike and keep financial burden off states
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin today released detailed information regarding the direct impact that would be felt by Wisconsin residents if Congress does not prevent the looming massive Medicare Part B premium hike. Last week, Senator Baldwin joined Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden and Senate Democrats in introducing legislation that would protect Medicare beneficiaries and states from the sharp rise in Part B premiums and deductibles in 2016. The Protecting Medicare Beneficiaries Act of 2015 ensures that Medicare premiums and deductibles will not increase in 2016.
“This commonsense measure will protect Wisconsinites and millions of seniors across the country from an abrupt and dramatic increase in Medicare costs,” said Senator Baldwin. “I urge my colleagues to act quickly and prevent this premium hike for Wisconsin seniors.”
Due to a lack of a Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2016, 30 percent of enrollees in the Medicare Part B program, which covers physician and outpatient services for seniors in Wisconsin, face a 52-percent premium increase if Congress does not act. According to AARP, an estimated 16.5 million individuals, including 236,000 in Wisconsin, will see their premiums increase. Of these estimated 16.5 million individuals, about 7.5 million will be forced to pay the premium increase out-of-pocket, including 124,000 in Wisconsin.
The other 9 million are dual-eligible beneficiaries, meaning they are enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid and, by law, states are required to cover the premium and deductible increase facing these individuals, including 112,000 in Wisconsin.
The National Association of Medicaid Directors has estimated that, without Congressional action, this premium increase cost would cost state budgets throughout the country more than $2.3 billion, including $29.3 million for Wisconsin’s state budget in 2016 alone. This premium increase and new burden on state budgets could also force Wisconsin to reduce benefits or make cuts to other areas of the Medicaid program. Furthermore, given that Wisconsin has already completed its budget for Fiscal Year 2016, a special session could be needed.