Medicare Outpatient Premiums To Increase
The standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B in 2007 will increase to $93.50 from $88.50, CMS Administrator Mark McClellan announced on Tuesday, the Washington Post reports. CMS officials said that the 5.6% increase in the monthly premium is the smallest since 2001 (Lee, Washington Post, 9/13).
The monthly premium includes calculations of a scheduled 5% reduction in Medicare physician reimbursements in 2007, "but Congress has reversed such cuts four years in a row," the Wall Street Journal reports.
McClellan said that, in the event Congress reverses the scheduled reduction in Medicare physician reimbursements, the monthly premium would increase by $1.50.
CMS officials earlier this year estimated that the monthly premium in 2007 would increase to $98 and on Tuesday attributed the smaller increase to physicians "filing claims faster and getting paid more quickly," the Journal reports (Zhang, Wall Street Journal, 9/13). Higher-income beneficiaries in 2007 for the first time will pay a higher monthly premium than other beneficiaries, as ordered by a provision in the 2003 Medicare law. Under the provision:
- Individuals with annual incomes between $80,000 and $100,000 and married couples with annual incomes between $160,000 and $200,000 in 2007 will pay a monthly premium of $106;
- Individuals with annual incomes between $100,000 and $150,000 and married couples with annual incomes between $200,000 and $300,000 in 2007 will pay a monthly premium of $124.70;
- Individuals with annual incomes between $150,000 and $200,000 and married couples with annual incomes between $300,000 and $400,000 in 2007 will pay a monthly premium of $143.40; and
- Individuals with annual incomes of $200,000 or more and married couples with annual incomes of $400,000 or more in 2007 will pay a monthly premium of $162.10 (Pugh, Miami Herald, 9/12).
NPR's "Morning Edition" on Wednesday reported on the increase in the monthly premium. The segment includes comments from Medicare Rights Center President Bob Hayes and McClellan (Silberner, "Morning Edition," NPR, 9/13).
The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.