Q. Why is Medicare Part B premiums increasing for retirees who currently have Part B? I thought only “new” enrollees would be paying the higher rate in 2010.
A. Most Medicare beneficiaries will not see a Part B monthly premium increase as a result of a “hold harmless” provision in the current law. This allows for 73 percent of beneficiaries to be protected from an increase raising the 2010 Part B monthly premiums. Approximately 27 percent of beneficiaries are not subject to the hold-harmless provision because they are new enrollees during the year (3 percent), they are subject to the income-related additional premium amount (5 percent), or they do not have their Part B premiums withheld from social security benefit payments (19 percent), including those who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid and have their Part B premiums paid on their behalf by Medicaid (17 percent).