Posts tagged ‘Premiums’
November 29, 2016 – Despite statements during the campaign that he would protect Medicare, the President-Elect is indicating otherwise with his selections of Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) to head the Department of Health & Human Services, and health consultant Seema Verma to head the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Price is an ardent foe of the Affordable Care Act, although it has extended the solvency of the Medicare Part A Trust Fund, closed gaps in prescription drug coverage, and expanded preventive benefits under Medicare.
Particularly threatening to Medicare and Medicare beneficiaries, says Center for Medicare Advocacy Executive Director, Judith Stein, “Rep. Price favors letting people opt-out of Medicare. Allowing beneficiaries – most likely the healthiest beneficiaries – to opt out of Medicare is an example of what Newt Gingrich in 1995 called letting the program ‘wither on the vine.’ The key to future solvency is a larger coverage pool, not a smaller one. That’s just how insurance works.”
In addition, Mr. Price’s proposals to rely on tax credits as incentives to purchase insurance ignore the fact that a huge number of families don’t make enough income for such credits to be worthwhile. Further, CMS nominee Verma favors Health Savings Accounts – another private option that would break up the Medicare community. “All of these proposals,” continued Ms. Stein, “will be sold to Medicare beneficiaries as ‘preserving’ and ‘protecting’ Medicare. In fact, they will end Medicare and turn it over to the private insurance industry.”
Part B Cost-Sharing Lower Than Expected for 2012
Today the Obama Administration announced that Part B cost-sharing will be less than projected for all beneficiaries in 2012. The Part B deductible will decrease by $22 in 2012, from $162 per year in 2011 to $140 in 2012. Further, monthly Part B premiums will increase only slightly for those beneficiaries who have not had an increase in the last two years. Because there will be a cost-of-living increase for Social Security recipients in 2012, the Part B premium will increase, but only by $3.50 – from $96.40 in 2011 to $99.90 in 2012. For those individuals who did have Part B premium increases in 2010 and 2011, the premium will actually decrease by $15.10 in 2012, from $115 to $99.90.
The Part B premium reductions are a result of slower Part B growth due in part to health care reform. The Affordable Care Act’s lower payment rates, reduced payments to private Medicare plans, and increased efforts to fight fraud and abuse are major factors contributing to this good news for Medicare, beneficiaries, and taxpayers. At the same time, health care reform has increased the value of Medicare – reducing beneficiary costs for prescription drugs, adding preventive care coverage, and eliminating cost-sharing for most preventive services.
In summary, between reduced Part B premiums and increased Social Security payments, the average Social Security recipient will have a net cost-of-living increase of $40 per month in 2012. Good news indeed.
 In 2010 and 2011, most beneficiaries were “held harmless” from the Part B premium increase because they did not have an increase in their Social Security.