Medicare Part B Premiums, Deductibles To Remain Flat in 2015
Next year, premiums for beneficiaries with incomes below $85,000 will stay at $104.90 -- the same rate as the previous two years -- and deductibles will be unchanged at $147 (Radnofsky, Wall Street Journal, 10/9).
Medicare Part B covers doctor's appointments, outpatient care and other services. Those with annual incomes of more than $85,000 pay more, but their premiums also will remain unchanged (Demko, Modern Healthcare, 10/9).
CMS officials said the flat rates are a sign of an overall slowdown in Medicare spending that can be attributed to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said, "The stabilization of Part B premiums is another example of how we are containing health care costs to provide a more sustainable and affordable health delivery system" (Viebeck, The Hill, 10/9).
However, it is unclear to what extent the ACA has helped lower costs, according to economists and health care policy experts.
Some Costs To Rise
Meanwhile, the administration announced that costs for hospital and skilled-nursing facility stays will increase slightly. Specifically, Medicare Part B beneficiaries in a skilled-nursing facility next year will pay $157.50 daily after 20 days, compared with $152 per day this year (Wall Street Journal, 10/9).
Further, deductibles for hospital admissions under Part A of the Medicare program will increase by $44 in 2015, to $1,260 (AP/U-T San Diego, 10/9). The deductible is for the first 60 days of an illness period (Wall Street Journal, 10/9).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.