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Richest Medicare beneficiaries to pay more

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has announced that Medicare Part B premiums for the richest seniors will jump 4.4 percent next year. The premium hikes will apply to the 5 percent of seniors who in 2009 reported modified adjusted gross income over $85,000 for singles and $170,000 for couples. This income-adjusted increase was passed by Congress in 2003 to help offset the cost of the Bush administration’s expansion of Medicare to cover prescription drugs.

Also in 2011, the richest seniors will be forced to pay surcharges related to their Part D coverage of between $12 and $69.10 per person per month. These charges result from a health care act provision, which reduces the drug subsidy for the richest seniors in order to help plug the “doughnut hole” for seniors with high drug costs.

In 2011, most seniors will pay Part B premiums of $96.40 per person per month while the richest will pay anywhere from $161.50 to $369.10. The highest rate will apply to seniors with AGIs over $214,000 for singles and $428,000 for couples.