[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Sunny
Sunny
66°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
September 23
1948 - Agua Dulce Women's Club organized [timeline]


Guest Commentary by David Sayen
| Tuesday, Nov 15, 2011

You may have heard rumors lately that Medicare Part B premiums are shooting up – by as much as 200 percent.

Those rumors are completely false, I’m happy to say.

In fact, for most people with Medicare, the Part B premium will rise by $3.50 per month in 2012. That means the total monthly premium will be $99.90.

Medicare is divided into four parts, A, B, C, and D. Part A pays for hospital inpatient care, skilled nursing care, hospice, and some home health care.

Part B pays for doctor services, outpatient care, and some other types of home health.

Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage, finances managed care plans, like HMOs and PPOs, operated by private companies approved by Medicare. And Part D is the Medicare prescription drug program.

Only about 1percent of people with Medicare pay Part A premiums, since they paid enough in Medicare taxes over their working lives to qualify for premium-free Part A. We expect Part C premiums to be 4 percent lower, on average, next year. And Part D premiums will be about the same next year as this year.

People with Medicare pay 25 percent of their Part B premiums; the government picks up the rest. The actual amount of the premium is set each year based on expected care costs for all Medicare beneficiaries.

The “standard” Part B premium of $96.40 – the amount paid by most beneficiaries – had stayed the same since 2008, under a law that prohibits increases in Part B premiums in years in which there’s no cost-of-living increase in Social Security payments.

But retired workers will receive an average of $43 more each month in their Social Security checks next year. That will more than offset the $3.50 per month rise in standard Part B premiums.

The Part B deductible for 2012 will be $140, a decrease of $22 from this year.

The Part A deductible paid by beneficiaries when admitted as a hospital inpatient will be $1,156 in 2012, an increase of $24 from this year’s $1,132. This change is well below increases in previous years and general inflation.

I also want to remind everyone with Medicare that the end of open enrollment season is drawing near. The deadline for choosing a new Medicare health or prescription drug plan is Dec. 7.

People with Medicare should check their current plans to make sure they’re still a good fit. Can you still afford the premiums? Does your plan still cover the medical services and drugs you need?

If you’d like help sorting through all the choices, take a look at the “Medicare & You” handbook that was mailed to you recently. It lists all the health and drug plans that offer coverage in your area.

You also may want to check out Medicare’s online Plan Finder tool at www.Medicare.gov. Among other things, Plan Finder lets you enter the names of the medications you’re taking and find a plan that covers most or all of them.

Beginning this year, Plan Finder also rates Medicare Advantage plans according to our Five-Star Rating System. A gold icon indicates plans that received five stars, the highest rating for quality of care and customer service. We encourage people with Medicare to enroll in plans with higher ratings — and we hope lower-rated plans will work hard to improve their care and service.

I also wanted to let you know that, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, people who fall into the Part D “donut hole” will be eligible for 50 percent discounts on covered brand-name drugs next year. About 1.8 million Medicare beneficiaries have gotten cheaper drugs this year through the discount.

Also thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Medicare preventive health benefits are now available for free. These services include cancer screenings and an annual wellness visit with your doctor.

 

David Sayen is Medicare’s regional administrator for California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii, and the Pacific Trust Territories. You can always get answers to your Medicare questions by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
RECENT COMMENTARY
Thursday, Sep 21, 2017
Now that the formerly great state of California is a sanctuary, I’ve got to compare that action with the actions in the early 1860s of the Confederate States of America. They decided what laws they wanted to follow and what ones they didn’t.
Thursday, Sep 21, 2017
Hans' family did not know too much about his childhood or the country he had grown up in. About all the family knew was that Hans and his wife were born in Germany but had lived in this small Minnesota town for the last 60 years or more.
Thursday, Sep 21, 2017
There is a common insect that most people are not aware of because you never see it. It is mostly active underground. However, if you know what you are looking for, its traps are in many places and are very obvious.
Saturday, Sep 16, 2017
While not perfect, SB 54 kept intact our ability to maintain partnerships with federal law enforcement officials who help us in the fight against gangs, drugs and human trafficking. It also retains the controlled access that the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement has to our jails.
Thursday, Sep 7, 2017
Local residents have the right to record things their congressional leaders and legislative staff members say to residents of the 25th District and any of Rep. Knight's town hall meetings and legislative decisions.
Tuesday, Sep 5, 2017
Speaking with one of our Santa Clarita sheriff’s deputies recently, he was telling me about the hardest part of his job.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1948 - Agua Dulce Women's Club organized [timeline]
The governing boards of College of the Canyons and the William S. Hart Union School District are scheduled to discuss plans for a new Academy of the Canyons-style campus at the future Castaic High School when they sit down for their annual joint meeting Sept. 27.
COC, Hart Planning ‘North Academy’ at Castaic High School
The League of California Cities, with representatives from cities statewide including Santa Clarita, is calling for Gov. Jerry Brown to veto SB 649, which if enacted would allow the wireless industry to install new 5G equipment with little input from local jurisdictions.
League of California Cities Urges Governor to Veto 5G Wireless Equipment Bill
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, an off-duty LAPD officer and Canyon Country resident, died Thursday evening after a collision in Porter Ranch. Plus, check out all the exciting events happening this weekend. Watch these stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Friday, September 22, 2017
The new pedestrian bridge crossing McBean Parkway is expected to be open in time for weekend foot traffic.
New Pedestrian Bridge on McBean Parkway Set to Reopen Saturday
The Child and Family Center will begin providing outpatient substance use treatment services for adolescents and young adults with primary substance use disorders under the California Drug MediCal Program starting Tuesday, October 3.
Oct. 3: Child and Family Center Begins Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment
College of the Canyons and the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center will host a caregivers' workshop at the Senior Center in Newhall on Saturday, September 30 from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Sept. 30: COC, Senior Center Host Caregiver Workshop
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is strongly opposing the proposed Graham-Cassidy healthcare legislation, saying it would undermine the well-being of the county’s most vulnerable populations and burden taxpayers with heavier costs for years to come.
Supes Say Graham-Cassidy Bill Threatens Health of Millions of LA County Residents
The intersection of Soledad Canyon Road and Bouquet Canyon Road will be under construction from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. on Friday night, September 29 and Saturday morning, September 30.
Sept. 29-30: Soledad and Bouquet Canyon Repaving
College of the Canyons launched its First-Year Promise program this fall, and to ensure the future of the FYP program, which offers full-time freshman students waived tuition and fees during their first year of study, the COC Foundation has committed to fundraising $500,000 over the next two years.
COC Foundation Launches ‘First-Year Promise’ Fundraising Campaign
Road rehab on major arterial roads and intersections in the city of Santa Clarita continues into October.
Santa Clarita Road Rehab Drives into October
More than 60 Air Force senior leaders convened on Friday to discuss the Air Force’s aircrew crisis, which has left the service more than 1,500 pilots short of its requirements.
Short by 1,500 Pilots, Air Force Leaders Address Aircrew Crisis
The Santa Clarita Valley has five major industry clusters and the SCV Economic Development Corporation targets its economic development efforts to support and expand them.
Five Growing Industry Clusters in the Santa Clarita Valley
In the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the Veterans Affairs Department VA announced Friday that it continues to provide vital health care and other support to displaced Veterans in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
VA Aids Veterans in Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands After Hurricanes Irma and Maria
Gatorade made misleading “anti-water statements” while pushing the benefits of its sports drinks in a video game marketed to teenagers, according to a settlement announced Thursday by California’s attorney general.
California Fines Gatorade $300K for ‘Anti-Water’ Ad Campaign
John Gasparyan, an off-duty Los Angeles Police Department officer and Canyon Country resident, died when his motorcycle crashed in Porter Ranch around 6:50 p.m. Thursday.
LAPD Officer from Canyon Country Dead in Motorcycle Crash
A former Los Angeles County probation officer was sentenced after pleading guilty to inappropriately touching two girls at a youth camp, the county District Attorney’s Office has announced.
Ex-Probation Officer Gets 364 Days for Sexual Assault
1969 - College of the Canyons opens with first class of students in temporary quarters at Hart High School [story]
The most prestigious recognition for government assessment agencies has been awarded to the Office of the Assessor in Los Angeles County.
County Awarded Prestigious Government Assessment Award
The Dodgers, who have clinched a postseason berth for the fifth consecutive year, return home tomorrow to open their final homestand of the regular season against the San Francisco Giants (Sept. 22-24) and San Diego Padres (Sept. 25-27).
Dodgers Back Home Friday; Last Homestand of 2017 Season
Auditions for the the upcoming Canyon Theater Guild's production of A Christmas Story are just around the corner.
Sept. 30-Oct. 1: Christmas Story Auditions at CTG
Now that the formerly great state of California is a sanctuary, I’ve got to compare that action with the actions in the early 1860s of the Confederate States of America. They decided what laws they wanted to follow and what ones they didn’t.
No Home for Me | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
Santa Clarita Valley residents have known the family-owned Italian restaurant, Sisley Kitchen, since 1993 when their doors first opened at the top of Valencia Town Center Drive in Westfield Valencia.
Renovations Complete at Sisley Kitchen
The Women's Soccer team will be finishing up their non-conference matches this weekend.
Sept. 22-24: CSUN Athletics Roundup
David Wolfram will demonstrate pastel-over-watercolor painting at the Santa Clarita Artists Association (SCAA) meeting on Monday evening, Nov. 20 at 6:30 pm. This event is free, open to the public and meets at Barnes & Noble, 23630 Valencia Blvd.
Nov. 20: Pastel-Over-Watercolor Demonstration at SCAA Meeting
Beginning October 1, all 23 California State University (CSU) campuses will accept applications for admission to the fall 2018 term.
Oct. 1: CSU Accepting Fall 2018 Applications
College of the Canyons launched its First-Year Promise (FYP) program this fall, and to ensure the future of the FYP program, which offers full-time freshman students waived tuition and fees during their first year of study, the COC Foundation has committed to fundraising $500,000 over the next two years
COC First-Year Promise Fundraising Campaign Underway
The city of Santa Clarita is inviting our younger residents to take part in the 30th anniversary celebration.
City Launches ’30 Things for 30 Years’ Contest; Students Invited to Take Part
California State University, Northridge’s Friends of the Oviatt Library welcomes members of the community to nominate their favorite stories about the San Fernando Valley for consideration of the San Fernando Valley Award for Non-Fiction.
CSUN Library Group Invites Community to Nominate Favorite San Fernando Valley Story
The Los Angeles Dodgers today announced sellouts for all seven potential postseason home games in the Division Series and League Championship Series just hours after tickets went on sale to the public at 10:00 a.m. It’s believed to be the quickest that the club has sold out of postseason tickets in Dodger Stadium history.
Dodgers NLDS, NLCS Tickets Already Sold Out
Sales of existing single-family homes increased 7.4 percent throughout Santa Clarita during August while the median price of homes that changed owners rose 6.6 percent, the Southland Regional Association of REALTORS® reported today.
Increase in SCV August Home Sales, Prices
Mountainview Elementary School parents were greeted with a voicemail Thursday morning informing them of a break-in on campus believed to have occurred the night before.
Vandals Trash Library, Computers, Classrooms at Mountainview
Hans' family did not know too much about his childhood or the country he had grown up in. About all the family knew was that Hans and his wife were born in Germany but had lived in this small Minnesota town for the last 60 years or more.
Lesson from History | Commentary by John Windsor
A gang sweep targeting Newhall 13, a well known Santa Clarita criminal organization, netted three arrests Thursday.
Three Arrests Made in Newhall 13 Gang Sweep
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is proud to announce the launch of our new LASD Facebook Español.
LASD Facebook Español Now Online