No Change to 2009 Part B Medicare Premium

First time since 2000 that premium has not been raised yearly
By Jane Parry
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Sept. 22 (HealthDay News) -- There will be no change to the Part B Standard Medicare premium in 2009 compared with 2008. This is the first time since 2000 that the premium has not risen over the prior year, according to an announcement by the Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

The premium, which covers a portion of physicians' services, outpatient hospital services, some home health services and durable medical equipment costs, will stay at the 2008 level of $96.40 per month. Although growth is expected in most areas covered by the Medicare Part B program, the financial effects of this will be offset by a substantial reduction in the premium "margin" that is required to keep contingency reserves in the Part B trust fund account at adequate levels.

The Medicare Part A deductible will increase by $44 from $1,024 this year to $1,068 next year, but this change will not affect the vast majority of Medicare beneficiaries who have at least 40 quarters of Medicare-covered employment, or have coverage through their spouse's contributions.

"However, other seniors and certain people under age 65 with disabilities who have fewer than 30 quarters of coverage may obtain Part A coverage by paying a monthly premium set according to a statutory formula," according to a statement released by the CMS.

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