Next Year's Medicare Program Costs Announced

. December 3, 2012

Federal Medicare officials just announced increases in Medicare Part B (outpatient services) premiums and deductibles for 2013.  The monthly premiums will go up 5%, from $99.90 to $104.30. This marks the first time they have broken into the triple digits, but is less than the 9% increase the program's trustees predicted earlier this year.  Nevertheless, advocates for the elderly point out that premiums have risen 130% since 2000 -- nearly as much as gasoline prices.

For less-wealthy recipients, the changes will be felt as smaller-than-expected Social Security increases. The Social Security COLA next year is 1.7 %. After Part B premiums are deducted, seniors receiving a $1,000 monthly benefit will see a net increase of $12, or 1.2 %; the net increase for those receiving $2,000 will be $29, or 1.45%.

High-income seniors (those with incomes exceeding $85,000 for single filers and $170,000 for joint filers), who already pay surcharges on top of the standard premium, will pay the 5% increase plus surcharges that rise with income.  Their Part B increases will range from $42 to $230.90.