Minimal Medicare Premium Increase For 2012
Originally Posted: November 08, 2011
- Congressman Tim Bishop
hailed the announcement by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid
Services (CMS) that the monthly premium paid by most Medicare beneficiaries for services like physician visits and out-patient services (Part B) will increase by only $3.50, to $99.90 in 2012. CMS also announced that the Part B deductible will be $140 in 2012, a decrease of $22 from 2011.
"In combination with the 3.6 percent increase in Social Security benefits for next year, 2012 will bring much-needed relief to seniors on a fixed income," said Congressman Bishop. Because Part B premiums are deducted from monthly Social Security payments, seniors will see a large part of the 3.6 percent cost of living adjustment for Social Security reflected in their monthly benefit check.
Bishop said the Affordable Care Act was helping to hold the line on Medicare premium increases because $2.9 billion of Part B expenditures next year will be financed by annual fees on manufacturers and importers of brand-name prescription drugs instituted under the new health reform law. The Medicare Part D Prescription Drug plan's average 2012 premium for basic coverage is estimated at $30, slightly lower than the actual average for 2011 of $30.76.
The Affordable Care Act also gave CMS new authority to protect Medicare beneficiaries from significant increases in costs or cuts in benefits, leading to an estimated four percent decline in Medicare Advantage premiums from 2011 to 2012. Virtually all Medicare beneficiaries continue to have access to a Medicare Advantage plan, with enrollment expected to increase by 10 percent next year while benefits on those plans remaining consistent with those offered in 2011.
"In Town Halls and meetings at retirement communities throughout Suffolk County, I've heard from seniors struggling with high costs for food, energy and medical care," said Bishop. "This announcement guarantees that seniors will have a little more in their pocket next year to help make ends meet and participate in the economic recovery."