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Today's 2008 Medicare Part B Premium Announcement is Not Good News
Date:10/1/2007

Medicare Premiums Soar 93 Percent Since 2001, Five Times Faster Than Annual

Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment

WASHINGTON, Oct. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Earlier today, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that Medicare Part B premiums would increase by 3.1 percent next year, to a total of $96.40 per month per senior. Excluded from their announcement is the fact that premiums have jumped 93 percent since 2001, when premiums were just $50.00 per month.

Part B premiums are rising almost five times faster than the annual Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) seniors receive each year, which is intended to help them keep up with rising costs. While Medicare Part B premiums will have soared by more than 93 percent from 2001 - 2008, the COLA will have crept up by just 19 percent (See Note 1) during the same period.

Medicare Part B covers doctors' visits, tests, and outpatient hospital care.

A majority of the 48 million Americans aged 65 and over who receive a Social Security check depend on it for at least 50 percent of their total income, and one in three beneficiaries rely on it for 90 percent or more of their total income. But because the Social Security COLA will be completely eaten up for millions of low income seniors due to increasing Medicare premiums, the nation's elderly will see their spending power diminish again next year, as it has for several straight years.

"Many people have the mistaken notion that such a low Medicare premium increase is good news for seniors -- but they forget that it's been rising five times faster than their Social Security checks," said Shannon Benton, executive director of The Senior Citizens League. "Medical expenses alone are leaving seniors to fend for themselves with all other rising costs -- such as gasoline, home heating, and groceries."

To help offset the cost of Medicare Part B, The Senior Citizens League is lobbying for
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SOURCE The Senior Citizens League
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