Informer: Medicare Part B premiums to rise gradually

By By Andrew Perzo / American Press

If I understand correctly, the Medicare Part B premium is going to double from $100 to $200 in 2013 and then double again

in the next year or the year after that to $400. Could you address that please?

Sure: What you’ve heard is incorrect.

Under the Affordable Care Act, more people will eventually pay more for Medicare coverage. But the cost increase won’t be

so steep, nor will it come along so quickly.

“Since 2007, higher-income enrollees

pay higher premiums. As a result of ACA, the income thresholds used to

determine which

beneficiaries are subject to higher Part B premium rates will be

frozen at 2010 levels through 2019,” reads a Congressional

Research Service report published in May.

“Over time, this freeze will result in a larger number of beneficiaries paying the higher premiums and is expected to bring

in increased revenue” for the Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund, which funds Medicare Parts B and D.

The Congressional Budget Office has said the threshold freeze would save the government $25 billion over 10 years.

Most Medicare participants paid $99.90 a month for Part B coverage in 2012. Their premium will rise by only 5 percent to $104.90

in 2013.

The amount paid by those in the lowest income strata accounts for 25 percent of Part B costs. The percentages for higher-income

participants’ premiums are 35 percent, 50 percent, 65 percent and 80 percent.

The 2013 Part B premiums, which were announced in mid-November:

If you earned $85,000 or less individually in 2011 — $170,000 or less on a joint tax return — then your premium will be $104.90.

If you earned above $85,000 up to $107,000 individually — above $170,000 up to $214,000 for joint filers — then your premium

will be $146.90.

If you earned above $107,000 up to $160,000 individually — above $214,000 up to $320,000 for joint filers — then your premium

will be $209.80.

If you earned above $160,000 up to $214,000 individually — above $320,000 up to $428,000 for joint filers — then your premium

will be $272.70.

If you earned above $214,000 individually — above $428,000 for joint filers — then your premium will be $335.70.

Estimated future Part B premiums for participants at the lowest income level, according to the 2012 Medicare Trustees Report:

2014 — $112.10.

2015 — $117.

2016 — $122.

2017 — $128.20.

2018 — $135.50.

2019 — $143.60.

2020 — $151.90.

2021 — $161.20.

For more information, call the Centers

for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ helpline at 800-MEDICARE, or call

the Social Security

Administration, 800-772-1213.

Online: www.medicare.gov; www.ssa.gov; www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R40082.pdf.

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The Informer answers questions from readers each Sunday, Monday and Wednesday. It is researched and written by Andrew Perzo, an American Press staff writer. To ask a question, call 494-4098, press 5 and leave voice mail, or email informer@americanpress.com