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2011 Medicare Rates Announced

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced the 2011 rates for Medicare. The basic premium for Medicare Part B will be $115.40 a month, up from $110.50 in 2010 (a 4.4 % increase). But because there will be no cost of living benefit increase for Social Security recipients for 2011, most beneficiaries will be exempted from paying this increase and will instead pay the same $96.40 premium they have paid since 2008.

A provision in the Medicare law prohibits Part B premiums from rising more than that year’s cost of living increase in Social Security. Those already on Social Security and Medicare will not have an increase in their premiums. New enrollees, and those who don’t have part B withheld from their checks, will have to pay the new higher premium. Also, those high-income people who pay a premium surcharge are not exempt from the increase.

Medicare beneficiaries will be subject to new deductibles and co-payments outlined below. Medicare Part B covers physician services as well as qualifying out-patient hospital care, durable medical equipment, and certain home health services, among other services.

Medicare figures for 2011:
• Basic Part B premium: $115.40/month
• Part B deductible: $162 (was $155)
• Part A deductible: $1,132 (was $1,100)
• Co-payment for hospital stay days 61-90: $283/day (was $275)
• Co-payment for hospital stay days 91 and beyond: $566/day (was $550)
• Skilled nursing facility co-payment, days 21-100: $141.50/day (was $137.50)

High-Income Premium Surcharges
• Individuals between $85,000 and $107,000 and married couples between $170,000 and $214,000 will pay a monthly premium of $161.50.
• Individuals between $107,000 and $160,000 and married couples between $214,000 and $320,000 will pay a monthly premium of $230.70.
• Individuals between $160,000 and $214,000 and married couples between $320,000 and $428,000 will pay a monthly premium of $299.90.
• Individuals with annual incomes of $214,000 or more and married couples with annual incomes of $428,000 or more will pay a monthly premium of $369.10.

The Social Security Administration uses income from two years ago to determine Part B premiums. So the income reported on a 2009 tax return is used to determine whether the beneficiary is subject to the Surcharge. If a beneficiary’s income decreased significantly in the past two years, she may request that information from more recent years be used to calculate the premium.

For more information on Medicare and the 2011 increases go to www.cms.gov