American College of Physicians: Internal Medicine — Doctors for Adults ®

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Medicare Part B premiums to jump 10% in 2001

From the December 2000 ACP-ASIM Observer, copyright 2000 by the American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine.

Medicare Part B premiums will rise $4.50, or 10%, next year to $50 a month, the largest increase in recent years.

HHS said that the increase reflects rising health care costs and legislative initiatives that will increase Part B spending. The Part B premium covers physician services, hospital outpatient care, durable medical equipment and other services outside of hospitals.

The increase follows a period of relatively flat premiums. There was no increase in Part B premiums last year, an increase of $1.70 in 1999 and no increase in 1998. Accounting for inflation, Part B premiums have risen by less than a dollar since 1994.

HHS also announced that the Part A deductible for inpatient hospital care will rise $16 to $792, an increase of 2%.

Analysts said they are concerned that the increase in Part B premiums comes at a time when elderly people face increases in other health care expenses like prescription drug costs, co-insurance payments and Medicare supplemental policy premiums.

More on Medicare premium increases is on the Web at www.hhs.gov/news/press/2000pres/20001018.html.

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