header image

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

Inside
Weather


 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
December 2
1972 - Five wounded in Vagos biker gang shooting at Curtis & JoAnne Darcy's Acton '49er Saloon [story]
Darcys 49er


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
Friday, Dec 1, 2023
As the new Commissioner of Athletics, this is the first opportunity I have had to witness and participate in the planning and implementation of the championship events held every year by the CIF Southern Section.
Friday, Dec 1, 2023
The holiday season holds a special place in our hearts as we get to spend time with loved ones.
Thursday, Nov 30, 2023
Nestled in the hearts of our community, the Santa Clarita Public Library system holds an important place in the lives of our residents.
Thursday, Nov 23, 2023
It is the time of year when we celebrate an entire holiday focused on showing gratitude and giving thanks.
Monday, Nov 20, 2023
Are you looking for a day full of out-of-this-world engaging activities, with a big dose of intergalactic information? Look no further than the 16th annual Family Literacy Festival.
Thursday, Nov 16, 2023
Being an animal lover from my earliest memories, one of my favorite childhood movies was Dr. Doolittle.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1972 - Five wounded in Vagos biker gang shooting at Curtis & JoAnne Darcy's Acton '49er Saloon [story]
Darcys 49er
When Danny Trejo was released from prison in 1969 after stints for crimes including armed robbery and drug dealing, and before he became one of today’s most recognizable actors, he returned to the neighborhood he grew up in and stole from.
Actor Danny Trejo Encourages CSUN Students to Help Others
The regular meeting of the William S. Hart Union High School District’s Governing Board will be held Wednesday, Dec. 6, beginning with closed session at 5 p.m., followed immediately by open session at 7 p.m.
Dec. 6: Hart District Regular Board Meeting
Broadway’s master songman, Mandy Patinkin, accompanied by Adam Ben-David on piano, will bring his newest theatre concert “Mandy Patinkin in Concert: BEING ALIVE,” to the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons for one performance only on Thursday, March 21, 2024, at 7 p.m.
March 21: Mandy Patinkin Coming to PAC
As the new Commissioner of Athletics, this is the first opportunity I have had to witness and participate in the planning and implementation of the championship events held every year by the CIF Southern Section.
CIF-SS Commissioner Mike West | Fall Championship Round-up
Join the city of Santa Clarita Friday, Dec. 8, for part of your lunch break to test your knowledge about Green Santa Clarita programs and events.
Dec. 8: Green Santa Clarita Trivia
The Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency will hold an Engineering and Operations Committee meeting Thursday, Dec. 7, at 5:30 p.m.
Dec. 7: SCV Water Engineering, Operations Committee Meeting
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health will join in commemorating the 35th annual World AIDS Day Friday, with the theme “World AIDS Day 35: Remember and Commit.”
L.A. County Recognizing World AIDS Day
The Santa Clarita Parks, Recreation and Community Services Commission will hold its regular meeting Thursday, Dec. 7, at 6 p.m., on the First Floor of City Hall in Council Chambers.
Dec. 7: Parks & Rec to Discuss Winter Season Programming
Mission Opera is presenting its fourth annual ‘Winter Holidays of the World’ - a free concert for residents of Santa Clarita featuring a celebration of international winter holidays through music and dance, Friday, Dec. 8, at 7:30 p.m., at Santa Clarita United Methodist Church.
Dec. 8: Mission Opera’s Annual ‘Winter Holidays of the World’
The Los Angeles County Department of Economic Opportunity launched the Shop Local LA County Holiday Campaign earlier this week, encouraging County residents to sign the #ShopLocalLA Pledge and participate in the newly announced holiday sweepstakes, “Shop Local Sweeps”, for an opportunity to win gift cards to their favorite small businesses in their own neighborhoods.
L.A. County Launches Shop Local Holiday Campaign
The holiday season holds a special place in our hearts as we get to spend time with loved ones.
Jason Gibbs | Give Back this Holiday Season
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health cautions residents who are planning to visit the following Los Angeles County beaches to avoid swimming, surfing, and playing in ocean waters due to bacterial levels exceeding health standards when last tested.
Ocean Water Advisory Continues for L.A. County Beaches
The California Department of Transportation has scheduled Lane Closures on the northbound and southbound Antelope Valley Freeway / State Route 14 between Technology Drive in Palmdale and Avenue A in Lancaster, closing up to three lanes.
Caltrans Announces SR-14 Lane Closures
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed Thursday 86 new cases and two additional deaths from COVID-19 in the Santa Clarita Valley within the last week.
Weekly COVID-19 Roundup: Protect Yourself from Winter Viruses
1929 - Saugus train robber Thomas Vernon apprehended in Pawnee, Okla. [story]
Tom Vernon
The Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency regular board meeting will be held Tuesday, Dec. 5, at 6 p.m. at the Rio Vista Water Treatment Plant boardroom, 27234 Bouquet Canyon Road, Santa Clarita, CA 91350.
Dec. 5: SCV Water Regular Board Meeting
The holiday season is off to a roaring start for Princess Cruises as the brand experienced its most prolific sales period ever for the week of Thanksgiving including Black Friday and Cyber Monday (Nov. 20-27).
Princess Cruises Sets Thanksgiving Week Booking Record
California State Parks and the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians (Tribe) signed a historic agreement Thursday to formalize their cooperation and collaboration in the management and protection of natural and cultural resources and interpretation for state parks within the Tribe’s ancestral lands.
Tataviam Tribe, State Parks Ink Historic Agreement
Calling all Los Angeles Kings fans – in coordination with the “2023 We Are All Kings Rink Tour”, The Cube – Ice and Entertainment Center | Powered by FivePoint Valencia is excited to host 2-3 current Kings players this Saturday, Dec. 2, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Dec. 2: L.A. Kings Coming to The Cube
“Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women” is championed by Zonta Clubs worldwide. The Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley joins the annual awareness and educational campaign which takes place during the United Nations 16 days of Activism from Nov. 25 through Dec. 10.
Zonta SCV Joins U.N.’s 16 Days of Activism
The Baker Family Foundation is proud to announce the re-launch of “The Big Idea SCV,” an entrepreneurial pitch contest for high school students grades 9 - 12, and college students between ages 18 - 25.
Dec. 1: Registration Opens for ‘The Big Idea SCV’ Re-Launch
Nestled in the hearts of our community, the Santa Clarita Public Library system holds an important place in the lives of our residents.
Laurene Weste | Galactic Adventures at Family Literacy Festival
The countdown to holiday magic has officially begun.
Dec. 2: Santa Snow Bash at Tejon Outlets
SCVNews.com
%d bloggers like this: