The FEHBlog is in lovely Estes Park Colorado with Mrs. FEHBlog for the wedding of our friends’ daughter. It’s a great place for the FEHBlog to lick his wounds following the Nationals loss to the Cubs last night.

The Social Security Administration announced today that Social Security beneficiaries will receive a 2% cost of living adjustment (COLA) in 2018. This means that all Medicare beneficiaries will be subject to the Part B premium and other cost sharing changes for 2018. Recently, existing FERS annuitants were held harmless against the Medciare increases because there was no Social Security COLA. CSRS annuitants were not protected because their Part B premiums are deducted from the government annuity checks, not Social Security checks. (CSRS annuitants who retired after 1983 are eligible for Medicare Part A but don’t receive Social Security benefits.)  Congress made some changes to the hold harmless law last year to soften the blow, but that hold harmless law doesn’t kick in for 2018 because a COLA will be paid. Medicare Part B premiums and other Medicare cost sharing will be announced in the next month or so.

The Trump Administration has taken two significant ACA-related actions over the past couple days, but the actions are directed at the individal and small group markets, not the large group market which includes the FEHBP.  Here’s a link to yesterday’s Executive Order (and a summary thereof) and here’s a link to the HHS press release on termination of cost sharing reduction payments to insurers in the individual and small group markets. The Congressional Budget Office issued a report discussing the impact of this action last August.

Today, the IRS announced that beginning with the next tax season (2018 for 2017 returns) it will beging rejecting individual income tax returns that do not state whether or not the taxpayer complied with the ACA’s individual mandate.