Retirees who have been extra good at saving for their golden years will pay billions in higher premiums for Medicare Part B and Part D.
Starting in 2008, the government set income thresholds over which Medicare participants would pay higher premiums. There were four thresholds starting at $82,000 for a single person and $164,000 for a married couple. The highest threshold paid nearly 2 times the standard premium, or $238.40 each month. The thresholds were set to index with inflation, and the lowest thresholds later increased to $85,000 and $170,000.
In 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act froze the income thresholds for Part B premiums and added a surcharge on Part D premiums. For 2013, retirees over the top threshold will pay more than three times as much, or $335.70 each month. Over time, freezing the thresholds will result in more and more retirees paying the higher premiums. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that these seniors will pay an additional $25 billion in Medicare premiums over the next 10 years. In addition, those participating in the Part D drug program are estimated to pay an additional $11 billion during the next 10 years.
Many seniors in the Dayton, Ohio, area were caught by this program when they were forced to sell the Dayton Power & Light stock they had accumulated over their working years. This is a perverse method of setting insurance premiums. The amount you pay is based on the sum of you life's work and not on the health risk that you represent.
JAMES A. BROWN
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