How the Hold Harmless Provision Protects Your Benefits
Last Updated: November 30, 2020
Social Security works together with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to make sure you won’t have a reduction in your Social Security benefits as a result of Medicare Part B premium increases.
A special rule called the “hold harmless provision” protects your Social Security benefit payment from decreasing due to an increase in the Medicare Part B premium. The Part B base premium for 2021 is $148.50, which is $3.90 higher than the 2020 base premium.
Most people with Medicare will pay the new premium amount because the increase in their benefit amount will cover the increase. However, a small number of people will see little or no increase in their Part B premium — and their Social Security benefit checks will remain the same — because the amount of their cost-of-living adjustment isn’t large enough to cover the increase.
To qualify for the hold harmless provision, you must:
- Receive Social Security benefits or be entitled to Social Security benefits for November and December of the current year.
- Have your Medicare Part B premiums for December and January deducted from your monthly benefits.
There are exceptions:
The hold harmless provision does NOT apply to you if:
- You enroll in Part B for the first time in 2021.
- You pay an income-related monthly adjustment amount premium.
- You are dually eligible for Medicaid and have your premium paid by a state Medicaid agency.
You can learn more by visiting Medicare.
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