No Increase for Medicare Part B Premiums. It will stay at $104.90 for 2014.

You may remember that last year I wrote about some very scary rumors that Obamacare was going to cause Medicare premiums to double or triple by 2014.   It started with an email circulating that stated as part of Obamacare (known more formally as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or PPACA) the Medicare premium will increase to $247 by 2014.

The Good News…

That's right.  The good news is that yesterday the Department of Health and Human Services announced that the premiums for Medicare Part B will not increase in 2014 and remain at $104.90 per month.  The deductible will also remain at $147. I agree with CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner when she said, "This is good news for Medicare beneficiaries and for American taxpayers."
In addition to the Medicare Part B premium remaining the same, they also said the Medicare Part A premium will drop $15 in 2014 to $426.  Part A pays for inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing facilities and some home health care services, but 99% of Medicare users do not pay premiums for Part A.  (To learn more about Part A click here.)
New Medicare premium rates come out each fall and take effect in January.  Medicare laws dictate that beneficiaries as a group are required to pay one-fourth the cost of running Medicare, and annual premiums are set at a figure calculated to achieve that level of revenue.  In other words, Medicare beneficiaries receive a 75% subsidy for Part B, so every $1 in Part B premiums for enrollees is matched by $3 in general revenues.

The Not-so-Good News…

Even though the Part B premium that is taken from your Social Security Check each month is not going to increase, this does not mean that your insurance supplement premiums will not go up.  Each year, Medicare health plans and Part D prescription drug plans can change their premiums, deductibles, cost-sharing and some benefits, or discontinue their coverage altogether. 
You need to be aware of how your plan may change, and prepare accordingly.   Medicare Open Enrollment is October 15 to December 7 and it is your only opportunity to review your plan and change to the better plan of your choice.  Right now there are several plans that have made some changes to their plans that will take effect on January 1, 2014.  You should have received an Annual Notice of Changes at the end of September listing any changes to your current plan.  You can find out about all of the plans in your area by using the Plan Finder tool at
If you would like a personalized, in-depth review of the changes to your current plan or the new plans available this year I am here to work as your guide.   I can help you review any changes and answer any and all questions you may have about your plan or another.  And if you find a better one I will help you through the process of changing. The best part is there is no cost to meet with me to review your choices.  The decision whether or not to change is entirely up to you.  If your health plan gives you the coverage you need and the costs to you are low I will encourage you to stay with it.
If you live in Maine or New Hampshire and would like someone with my knowledge and experience to help you review your health insurance then give me a call and we can talk.  My phone number is (207) 370-0143 or you can contact me via email through my Contact page.  I specialize in Medicare Supplements but I also help people under 65 find and compare plans on the new Federal Health Insurance Marketplace.
Take care,