An Internet e-mail still circulates that come 2014 the Medicare Part B standard premium will be $247 per person. That’s nonsense for several reasons.
1. The calculation of the premium is set by law and that law has not changed.
2. There is nothing in the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) that affects the Medicare premium calculation.
3. The President does not, as has been alleged, have the ability to unilaterally change any of this.
4. The standard 2012 premium for Medicare Part B is $99.90 (higher for the 5% higher income beneficiaries). If you used the highest rate of inflation to hit Medicare in the last forty years for both 2012 and 2013 you would get a premium of less than $130.00. The likelihood of that kind of inflation in the next two years is non-existent.
5. There is nothing in the 2011 Medicare Trustees report to indicate other than normal rates of cost increases over the next several years. In fact, the Trustee’s project that by 2020 the Part B premium will be $158.60. Even that is based on a premium for 2012 of $106.60 (not $99.90).
6. Most Medicare beneficiaries (95%) are protected from high increases in Medicare premiums under the Social Security hold harmless provision. This means that an increase in Medicare premiums cannot cause a net reduction in the Social Security payments. So, for example, if you are receiving $1,000 a month in Social Security benefits and you receive a 3% COLA increase, your Part B premium cannot increase my more than $30. Do the math and you will see there would have to be whopping COLA increases in Social Security in the next two years to get most people anywhere near $247 and that ain’t gonna happen.
Are any of these projections 100% accurate? Certainly not, there are too many unknowns. However, before you pass along some outrageous story about Medicare premiums (or a tax on the sale of your home, or that the value of health benefits is now taxable income or that Obama was stopping the 2011 Social Security COLA – all of which were circulated in the last year), get the facts.
Unfortunately too many people out there are so obsessed with opposition to this or that, their judgement is clouded …or they are simply ignorant and that’s scary because they can still vote.
By the way, the story about a brain surgeon being at a meeting in Washington where denying care to Americans 70 and over was discussed is also a lie. There was no such meeting, there is nothing in the Affordable Care Act remotely related to that and the caller to a talk show giving the story was not a brain surgeon.
Read other articles related to Medicare under the “Medicare” and “Healthcare” categories on this Blog.