Senate bill would protect against premium increases

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Dec. 6, 2010

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Lawmakers say legislation introduced in the Senate on Nov. 17 would prevent about 12 million seniors and individuals with disabilities from facing increased Medicare premiums scheduled to go into effect next year.

In November, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced Medicare premiums for 2011. Although the majority of beneficiaries will continue to pay the same $96.40 each month that they have paid since 2008, nearly 30% will pay at least $225 more annually.

Most beneficiaries are covered by a hold-harmless provision that protects them from increases when there is no increase in Social Security benefits. But new Medicare enrollees, low-income Medicaid beneficiaries and seniors who do not receive Social Security are not protected.

The Senate bill -- the Medicare Premium Fairness Act -- would extend the hold-harmless policy to all Medicare enrollees, ensuring that the Part B premium would stay at $96.40 for everyone. Sens. John Kerry (D, Mass.), Chris Dodd (D, Conn.), Jeff Bingaman (D, N.M.) and Robert Casey (D, Pa.) introduced the measure. Similar legislation passed the House 406-18 in September 2009.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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