Yes, there’s the possibility that Congress will carve back or cap limits in the interest of tax reform, but if the tax laws don’t change, the impact of increases in CPI will notch up a number of plan limits for 2018.

The annual COLA adjustments for most limits are measured using the CPI-U for July, August and September, as announced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). BLS announces these a few weeks after the indicated month ends, and the July and August numbers are now a matter of public record. The September rate will be released this year on October 13 at 8:30 am, at which time the guessing will be over.

With both the July and August rates in hand, there is little doubt that we will see some increases in the benefit limits for 2018 as displayed below. From time to time, we have seen the CPI-U retreat slightly, but the September figure would need to drop back to its level in January to eliminate the projected increases shows below. More likely, the September CPI-U will advance slightly. But for most of these limits to jump to the next level, a 1% increase would be needed in just one month. That’s not likely to happen. Accordingly, here are select predictions: