There are changes being implemented in the Medicare program.

Medicare beneficiaries at higher income levels will feel the brunt of the cost change. For example, individuals with incomes above $85,000 (or more than $170,000 for married couples) will see the Part B premium increase dramatically. In addition to paying the $121.80 monthly base amount, a monthly surcharge ranging from $48.70 to $268 will apply — depending on your income level. (It is important to note that the income thresholds for 2016 are based on the income you earned in 2014.)

The good news for individuals who already collect Social Security with annual incomes below $85,000 (and couples below $170,000), is that a so-called “hold harmless” provision will kick in. It essentially says your Medicare increase cannot be greater than the Social Security cost of living adjustment (COLA). There are no increases to COLA this year.

In 2016, Social Security recipients below those income thresholds will continue to pay $104.90 in monthly premiums for Medicare Part B. Those enrolled in Medicare who do not yet collect Social Security and remain under the same income thresholds will now pay $121.80.

– John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: ; or online at: