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Medicare Premiums Unchanged in 2009

Premiums for Medicare Part B coverage for doctor visits and other outpatient costs will remain the same in 2009 as they are this year.  Participants will pay $96.40 each month.  The Part B deductible will also remain the same at $135.

Normally, premiums increase each year.  2009 will be the first time since 2000 and only one of five years there has not been a premium increase.

People with higher incomes will have a higher premiums next year.  Individuals whose income was more that $85,000 or couples with incomes more than $170,000 will pay $134.90 monthly, an increase of $38.50.  Those with incomes higher than $107,000 for one person or $214,000 for a couple will pay even more.  Higher premiums for people with high incomes were required by law beginning in 2007.

Although Medicare expenses are expected to grow in 2009, assets in the contingency fund have grown enough to cushion anticipated costs in the coming year and not require increased premiums. By law, premiums must cover approximately one-fourth of the cost of Part B expenses for people over 65.

There is no premium for Medicare Part A which covers inpatient hospital expenses, skilled nursing facilities, hospice, and certain home health care.  However, the deductible for Part A hospital costs will increase in 2009 by $44 to $1,068.  Changes in other co-pays for skilled nursing homes are available on the CMS website.

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