The Medicare Part B premium (covering doctors and outpatient services) is rising for most seniors in 2012. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently announced the base monthly premium will be $99.90.
The premium increase is the first since 2008 for people who were enrolled in Medicare that year. There was no increase in 2009. And in 2010 and 2011, although Part B premiums rose to $110.50 and $115.40 respectively, a special “hold harmless” provision of law protected about three-quarters of Social Security recipients from paying the increases during 2010 and 2011 when there was no annual Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA).
The hold harmless provision protects the Social Security payments of most seniors and the disabled from reductions when the Medicare Part B premium increases more than their Social Security COLA. About 75% of beneficiaries are protected this way. Rate increases were paid by high-income seniors who pay income-related surcharges, and by state Medicaid programs that cover benefits for low-income seniors.
Now that Social Security beneficiaries will be getting a COLA, however, most will pay the new 2012 premium.
Learn more about the Medicare premiums and deductibles for 2012.
Sources: Medicare Premium and Deductibles for 2012, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, October 2X, 2011.