| Tue, Feb 07, 2012 @ 09:00 AM

Why Did My Medicare Part B Premium Go Up (or Down) in 2012?

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

Why Did My Medicare Part B Premium Go Up or Down in 2012Most Medicare beneficiaries are seeing a change in their monthly Medicare Part B premium for 2012. Whether you’re paying more or less depends on when you first enrolled in Medicare and on your income.

Premiums for Medicare Part B, which covers doctor visits and outpatient care, have been affected by two laws recently.

  • A “hold harmless” law has kept Part B premiums steady for most beneficiaries since 2009. This law prevents the government from increasing Medicare premiums without also providing a cost-of-living increase in Social Security benefits.
  • Another law, which went into effect in 2007, introduced an income-related monthly adjustment to Part B premiums for beneficiaries with higher incomes. These adjustments were phased in over three years, ending in 2010.

Most Current Beneficiaries Will Pay More

The standard monthly Part B premium for 2012 is $99.90. For beneficiaries who fell under the “hold harmless” protections, this represents an increase of $3.50 over what they paid in 2011. This is the first Part B premium increase for this group since 2008, and Medicare has said that it’s smaller than had been projected.

According to the Social Security Administration, beneficiaries are also receiving a 3.6 percent cost-of-living adjustment in 2012. This effectively neutralizes the premium hike. So, even though you are paying a higher Part B premium, you may actually receive more in your monthly Social Security check.

New Enrollees and Higher-Income Beneficiaries Will Pay Less

For beneficiaries who did not fall under the “hold harmless” protections, the 2012 standard Part B premium is $15.70 less than the $115.60 they paid in 2011. This is likely a welcome change for this group, which has seen premium increases for the past two years.

Beneficiaries with higher incomes still must pay the income-related monthly adjustment amount, in addition to the standard Part B premium. Since the standard premium is lower, you may pay less in 2012 that you did in 2011. Part B premiums for this group range from the standard $99.90 to $319.70 for 2012.

Most Medicare beneficiaries are seeing a change in their monthly Medicare Part B premium for 2012

The bottom line is, no matter which group of beneficiaries you fall into—whether your Part B premium went up or down for 2012—you could very well end up with more money in your pocket.

For more information contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048. You can also contact UnitedHealthcare® Medicare Made Clear to learn more 1-877-619-5582, TTY 711, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. local time, 7 days a week.

Resources:

Medicare Premiums and Coinsurance Rates for 2012: Medicare.gov

What You’ll Pay for Part B: MedicareMadeClear.com

Medicare Premiums and Deductibles for 2012: CMS.gov

Y0066_120103_111930 File & Use 01092012]