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Part B Premium Changes

Some get good news related to Part B premium changes for 2012Figure Points To Part B Premium Changes

The reduction in your monthly Social Security check is a reminder that Medicare Part B is not free.  Over the years the monthly Part B premium has seen a steady increase.

But for the vast majority of Medicare beneficiaries the Part B premium for 2012 is going to be less than expected.

The standard monthly Part B premium for 2012 will be $99.90. This represents a $15.50 decrease over the 2011 Part B monthly premium which was $115.40. This represents a $3.50 monthly premium increase or only 18% of what was expected.

Wealthier beneficiaries will pay a higher Part B premium

Many people will say that requiring the wealthy to pay a higher Part B premium for 2012 is proof that President Obama is re-distributing the wealth. But the truth is that the legislation that requires higher rates for some is contained in the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization act of 2003.

Beginning in 2007 the monthly premium that each beneficiary pays is based on his or her annual income. If your modified adjusted gross income income is greater that the legislated threshold amount you will be responsible for a larger portion of the Medicare Part B benefit coverage… i.e. higher premiums.

For 2012 the legislated threshold amount is up to $85,000 for people filling an individual return and up to $170,000 for those filling jointly.

Your 2012 Social Security raise should ease the burden

Your monthly Social Security check will increase 3.6% for 2012 which is a happy event considering the past couple of years. For most people, those not meeting the legislated threshold amount, the increase should more than cover the $3.50 increase in the Part B monthly premium for 2012.

Some would argue that given the increasing cost of living a  3.6% increase is hardly sufficient. But given the current political climate and budget deficit it’s to be expected. The days of getting a rebate from the federal government are probably long gone.

Tips For finding Affordable Medicare Plans

Some other ways to save money on your Medicare expenses

The good news is you have choices related to your Medicare coverage. Here are a few things you can do to find savings:

  • Compare Part D plans to be certain you are maximizing savings
  • Use mail order pharmacies for Part D drugs whenever possible
  • Utilize in-network providers if enrolled in a PPO, HMO, HMO-POS
  • Seek out community based programs that offer assistance
  • Check for special programs from pharmaceutical companies

Often a little leg work will pay off. This coupled with a raise in your Social Security check and a smaller than expected Part B premium for 2012 should help keep expenses in line.

To learn more about specific Part B premiums for 2012 visit medicare.gov.


8 comments

  1. Thanks for the information; I enjoy reading your posts; it is quick read and informative; saves me time looking some where else.

  2. Ann, Thank you for the kind words, I’m glad you find it beneficial.

  3. There are those on Medicare/Social Security that pay NOTHING FOR MEDICARE PART B??? Why do they get it for free and we have to pay so much???
    Maybe it is a time for change in the people who set up the pay for medical part B, Why is it that we are penalized for NOT taking Medicare Part B when we turn 65? It seems as tho we are forced into doing something that we don’t need at the time, then when we do need it, we are charged more than those who take it at 65!!! There are those of us that have a good insurance that carries over from our regular job, and yet we are FORCED to take something we don’t need at the time??? So far no one has ever answered this question very well!!!

  4. Marva, It’s possible that your employer based insurance is the second payer behind Medicare in which case you would have need to purchase Part B. People who pay nothing for Part B receive that benefit due to a limited income. If you feel that is not fair, you should vote for a representative that feels the same way you do.

  5. Great news! Thanks for the input. Appreciate your keeping us updated. Regarding fairness; perhaps, one might think of this as a donation in helping those who do not have as much. I think they call it humanitarianism.

  6. Ann, I fully understand your point. My concern is that the proposed 2% cut is for everyone including those who can least afford it.

  7. Hello My name is Wanda. My dad recently had Traditional or Original Medicare. As of 06 December 2011 I enrolled him into the Blue Medicare Regional PPO Plan with Part D. I have until 14 Feb to disenroll him back into Original Medicare. Do any one know if I made the right move? What is this $4000 out of pocket expense. Will My dad save money with the Blue Medicare Advantage Plan versus the Original Medicare Plan? If so in what way? If not in what way. Thanks for listening.

  8. Wanda, There is no way to know for certain because your dad’s health and what services he will require will determine out-of-pocket cost under each plan. The $4000 out of pocket expense is a cap on how much he could have in expenses under the Blue Medicare plan. Original Medicare does not include a cap on his expenses. Someone with original Medicare could be required to pay more than $4000.

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