The Part B premium reductions are a result of slower Part B growth due in part to health care reform. The Affordable Care Act’s lower payment rates, reduced payments to private Medicare plans, and increased efforts to fight fraud and abuse are some factors contributing to this good news for Medicare, beneficiaries, and taxpayers. At the same time, health care reform has increased the value of Medicare – reducing beneficiary costs for prescription drugs, adding preventive care coverage, and eliminating cost-sharing for most preventive services.
In summary, between reduced Part B premiums and increased Social Security payments, the average Social Security recipient will have a net cost-of-living increase of $40 per month in 2012. Good news indeed.
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For a complete breakdown of Medicare cost-sharing for 2012, see: http://www.medicareadvocacy.org/2011/10/2012-medicare-premiums-deductibles-and-co-pays/
William C. Wombacher, Central Illinois Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) and Social Security Disability Specialist