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The “Hold Harmless” provision: Social Security’s double-edged sword

Meant as protection for beneficiaries, the “hold harmless” provision says that a recipient’s Social Security benefit can’t go down because of an increase in Medicare premiums.  That means that for many of those on Social Security their Medicare premium is held at a lower-than-normal amount in spite of a general increase in Medicare’s Part B premium. Of course, that sounds good for those who are paying the artificially low premium, until you realize that any cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) given to Social Security beneficiaries will be applied to bring their Medicare premium up to, or closer to, the annual base Medicare premium amount. Consequently, even when a COLA is given, many on Social Security see none of the increase because it goes to pay for their Medicare premium. This Motley Fool article by Sean Williams describes the “Hold Harmless” provision and how it works, and how the provision has come back to harm seniors who depend so heavily on Social Security. Click here to read more.

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