Medicare Premiums Up, Not As Much As Expected

Good news for seniors: The government says Medicare's basic monthly premium will rise less than expected next year, by $3.50 for most.

It could be good, too, for President Barack Obama and Democrats struggling for older Americans' votes in a close election.

At $99.90 per month, the 2012 Part B premium for outpatient care will be about $7 less than projected as recently as May. The additional money that most seniors will pay works out to about 10 percent of the average Social Security cost-of-living increase they'll also be due.

Some recently enrolled younger retirees will actually pay less. They were charged $115.40 a month this year, and they'll see that go down to $99.90.

The main reason for lower-than-expected premiums seems to be the connection between Social Security COLAs and Medicare. Some also cite a moderation in health care costs.

But the Obama administration is hoping seniors will get a simpler takeaway message: Medicare is under sound management.

Older voters went for Republicans in the 2010 elections, after Obama's health care overhaul law cut Medicare spending to help finance coverage for the uninsured. Since then, the administration has worked hard to reverse any perception that Obama is steering Medicare into decline.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said it's "pretty remarkable" that premiums will stay in check. She reassured seniors that they have nothing to fear from the health care law.

A spokeswoman for Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah said the brunt of the health law's Medicare cuts are still to come.

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  • by Barlow Location: Winterville on Oct 28, 2011 at 04:56 AM
    And how is your private medical insurance doing? Any increases there? Go ahead shout it out like at the tea bagger rallies. NO GOVERNMENT RUN HEALTHCARE! KEEP YOU HANDS OFF MY MEDICARE! lol. Whew! I guess ignorance IS bliss, right Fixed viewers?
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Oct 28, 2011 at 06:51 AM in reply to Barlow
      Nope, mine actually went down last year $10 dollars per month for taking a helath assessment and getting rewarded for being healthy. Of course I had to turn around and pay it out in taxes to support Obamy's Healthcare program and the "pity me" class that you treasure so much.
  • by Anonymous on Oct 28, 2011 at 03:08 AM
    Yeah right really good news. They shouldn't rise at all in the current economy. And wait wasn't health care suppose to go down with Obamycare.....another broken promise from The Great One.

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