2012 Medicare Premium Hike, Smaller Than Expected

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Many elder American citizens who are insured by the State’s Medicare Insurance Program have been given a heads up that they will see a smaller-than-expected rise for their monthly premiums starting next year, according to health officials last Thursday.

The standard premiums for Medicare part B, which is expected to covers the expenses for physician consultations, outpatient services and some home healthcare services, will be priced at $99.90. For most of the beneficiaries for Part B, this means paying just about $3.50 more than the previous allotment, as compared to the expected increase of $10.20.

The annual deductibe for Part B is expected to decrease by$22 to $140, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services officials. As for the newer enrollees and those who belong to the higher income bracket, the new standard premium rate represents a decrease of $15.50 a month from $115.50 per month that they have been paying last 2011.

A huge number of the Part B beneficiaries have had their premiums held since 2008 at $96.40 per month due to federal and government-run Social Security retirement benefits which made no cost of living adjustments (COLA). A special provision which links Part B payments with the checks from which they usually get slashed.

Last week, it can be remembered that US seniors have found out that they cost of living adjustments check will see a 3.6 percent bump in 2012. Many people worried that the increase in tgeir premium will get gobbled right up due to an expected Medicare Premium hike.

Instead, the return of the COLA allowances means that the new Part B costs are once again distributed among all Medicare insured, and not only to new and higher income beneficiaries.

“More people are sharing in the smaller-than-expected increases in costs,” according to Dr. Don Berwick, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services administrator. Berwick also said that the healthcare reform which was enacted last year also aided in limiting the costs of healthcare.

The unexpected noble premium increase which was announced last Thursday may be able to lift a bit of pressure from President Obama’s back and fellow Democrats in the Congress as they seek to win over US Seniors before the 2012 election pressure commences.

“Millions of America’s seniors are struggling with higher expenses … and this small increase is welcome news,” AARP legislative policy director David Certner issued in a statement.

AARP, the premier lobby group for the American senior population, still express its fears over deep cuts to Medicare and Social Security premiums. They said it might emerge from a congressional “Super Committee” tasked to make amends in cutting the US debts.

About 44 million Americans were enrolled in the Medicare Part B last 2010 when the benefits of the program spending reached almost $210 billion, said the Medicare Trustees Report in 2011. The federal government subsidizes about three quarters of the Part B benefits, while the premiums paid by the seniors cover the remaining quarter.




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