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No Change in Medicare Part B Costs Means More Change in Your Pocket


The secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced this week that the Medicare Part B monthly premium and deductible will not increase in 2015.

This is great news for the 49 million Americans who rely on Medicare Part B to cover their doctor and outpatient hospital visits.

Medicare Part B monthly premiums and deductibles will remain at $104.90 and $147, respectively. Those who pay higher Medicare income-related premiums will also find that their premiums are unchanged. This is the second straight year that premiums have held steady.

>> 8 Things You Need to Know About Medicare

“The administration has taken important steps to improve the quality of care while keeping the cost of Medicare premiums and deductibles the same,” said Marilyn Tavenner, the administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), in a statement. “This means even greater financial and health security for our seniors next year as their premiums will remain unchanged.”

In fact, per capita Medicare spending growth has averaged only 0.8 percent annually over the past four years, lower than the 3.1 percent per capita gross domestic product (GDP) increase over that same time.

So, when the Social Security cost of living adjustment (COLA) for 2015 is announced, seniors will get to hold on to more of their monthly benefit check.

This is especially important because Social Security benefits are the largest source of income for most seniors — and nearly the entire source of income for nearly one-third of seniors. The COLA increased only 1.4 percent in 2014 and is likely to again be below 2 percent for 2015.

For nearly 50 years, AARP has been fighting to protect Medicare for seniors and future generations. As Washington debates the program’s future, AARP will continue to urge Congress to find common-sense solutions to secure Medicare for future generations, while keeping the promise they've made to seniors. Lowering prescription drug prices, improving the delivery of health care, including better coordinated care, and cracking down on waste and fraud are some of the ways we can strengthen Medicare and save taxpayers billions — without hurting seniors and their kids and grandkids.

Follow me on Twitter @DavidCertner  for the latest updates on what’s happening in Washington on the issues that matter most to older Americans.

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