Inflation appears to be losing steam. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the inflation rate was 4.9% in April 2023, the smallest increase since April 2021 and the first increase below 5% in two years. This trend is good news for the overall economy, but a mixed blessing for retirees: slowing inflation will translate into a smaller 2024 COLA (Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment). The non-partisan Senior Citizens League projects a 3.1% COLA for 2024, based on today’s inflation figures. This year’s COLA was 8.7%, a four-decade high.
Nine out of ten people age 65 and older receive Social Security benefits. The average retiree’s monthly check is $1,827. If the Senior Citizens League’s projection comes to pass next year, COLA would add an additional $56.44 to the average retiree’s monthly payment, bringing it to $1,883.64.
As far as Medicare Part B premiums, deductibles and coinsurance premiums go, the March Medicare trustees report predicts that the standard monthly Medicare B premium will increase to $174.80 next year, up from this year’s $164.90. Note that the amount each Medicare beneficiary pays is affected by his/her income; those with higher adjusted gross incomes pay more.
The average inflation rate in the third quarter will ultimately determine next year’s COLA, so we will have to wait until October for certainty about 2024’s COLA.