Medicare Premium Rises but Less than Expected

October 28 00:00 2011

New York, October 28 ( – Most beneficiaries will have to shell out between $3.50 and $99.90 more every month for their Medicare premiums. However, this increase is less than what had been expected. Administration officials are happy with this small increase since it can pay political dividends to President Obama as he tries to win the votes of older Americans in his bid for re-election. The administration had predicted in May that most beneficiaries would be paying premiums of $106.60 a month in 2012.

The Medicare benefits of most Medicare beneficiaries are withheld from their monthly Social Security benefits and in most cases, the cost-of-living adjustment in Social Security, averaging $43 a month for retired workers in 2012, will more than offset the increase in premiums.

Since 2008, there has been no increase in the $96.40 monthly premiums for most Medicare beneficiaries. The small increase amounting to less than 4 percent in four years has been described as “pretty remarkable” by Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services. Kaiser Family Foundation reports that Average premiums paid by workers for employer-sponsored health insurance have increased by over 20 percent since 2008.

Higher income individuals with annual incomes of more than $214,000 and couples over $428,000 pay higher premiums and their monthly premium next year will be $319.70.