Medicare Costs and Social Security

In a previous post I shared that the Social Security Administration recently announced a Cost of Living Adjustment for 2012 in the amount of 3.6%. Those covered by Medicare will be interested in knowing that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) also announced that Medicare Part B premiums in 2012 will be $15.50 per month LESS than in 2011 ($99.90 in 2012). However, many folks (estimated at 75%) have been paying $96.40 since 2008, so this is really an increase of $3.50/month more for most. 

So, assuming this is an increase for most can it be good news?  I think so.  (Easy for me to say,  I know - I am not a recipient). Even assuming a $3.50 increase seems like good news with the extreme northward direction of medical costs in general over the past few years. Many had feared that Medicare premiums were going to escalate at a rate that would essentially offset the expected average Social Security increase of $43 completely. 

Further good news includes estimates by the CMS that the average Medicare Part D prescription drug plan premium will be near $30 and Medicare Advantage premiums will be lower for 2012. 

Additional information regarding the Medicare announcements can be found at: 

Have a Social Security or Medicare question?  Send me an email – the tougher the question the better.  And remember, there’s no such thing as a dumb question when dealing with government agency’s policies (or the tax code).