Medicare Premiums Predicted to Increase While Congress is Getting Pay Raises-Truth! & Fiction!

Medicare Premiums Predicted to Increase While Congress is Getting Pay Raises-Truth! & Fiction!

Summary of eRumor:

This one blames the 112th Congress, under the leadership of John Boehner, for increases in Medicare premiums while at the same time Congress offering no cost of living increase to Social Security recipients voting themselves a cost of living pay raise.   The email says that premiums in 2012 will go up from $96.40 to $104.20. In 2013 it says premiums will rise to $120.20 and in 2014 they will be hiked up to $247.00.

The Truth:

This eRumor gets a little complex.  There were increases in Medicare premiums announced in 2010.  Currently, in 2012, the rates posted on the Medicare site are $451 for Part A and $99.90 for Part B. 

There were no Cost of Living increases for Social Security recipients in 2010 or 2011.  Congressional representatives have not received pay raises since 2009 and in 2010 actually voted to stop their annual automatic cost of living increases.

During the Spring of 2012 one official looking version of this eRumor said that premiums would be hiked up to $247 in 2014.  The warning appeared to have come from a representative of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama.   According to an April 5, 2012 article in the Boston Globe, the insurance representative received this viral email and forwarded it from her work computer which pasted her company information at the bottom of the email, thus lending some credibility to the Internet Hoax.   Click for story.

Medicare Premium Increases

On October 19, 2009, the New York Times reported that there would be an increase to Medicare Part B premiums from $100 to $115, a 15% increase.  The Times article said, “About 12 million people, or 27 percent of Medicare beneficiaries, will have to pay higher premiums or have the additional amounts paid on their behalf.”

On November 5, 2010, the Social Security Administration published a report of increases of Medicare premiums that said that depending on what plan participants are enrolled, the increases would vary.  These policies were enacted while  the 111th Congress, under the leadership of Nancy Pelosi, was in session. The Republican majority led 112th House did not take office until January 3, 2011, months after the changes to Medicare were enacted.

For the most part, increases in premiums affect Medicare participants of Part B.  The report said, “Most beneficiaries will continue to pay the same $96.40 or $110.50 premium amount in 2011. Beneficiaries who currently have the Social Security Administration (SSA) withhold their Part B premium and have incomes of $85,000 or less (or $170,000 or less for joint filers) will not have an increase in their Part B premium in 2011.”   

It went on to say, “For all others, the standard Medicare Part B monthly premium will be $115.40 in 2011, which is a 4.4% increase over the 2010 premium. The Medicare Part B premium is increasing in 2011 due to possible increases in Part B costs. If your income is above $85,000 (single) or $170,000 (married couple), then your Medicare Part B premium may be higher than $115.40 per month.” has not found any evidence that the Social Security Administration has announced any future increases to Medicare premiums.   Any cost predictions not posted on the Medicare or SSA sites should be considered speculation.

For current quotes on premiums Medicare has put up a cost page: Click for Medicare premium information.


No Cost of Living Increase for Social Security Recipients

According to an October 15, 2010 press release by the Social Security Administration, the policy of no cost of living adjustment (COLA) for Social Security recipients began in 2010 , once again, while the 111th Congress was in session.  The bill that was signed into law in 2010 but extended the no COLA plan to 2011. reported on this story back in 2010 and has findings posted.   Click for our findings.

Congressional Pay Raises

Neither the 111th nor 112th Congress voted for a cost of living increase in their salaries.  According to a May 14, 2010 article in The Hill, President Obama signed into law a bill that would stop all automatic pay raises to members of Congress.  The article said, “The base pay for House and Senate lawmakers is $174,000, though leaders earn a higher salary. The cost-of-living increase would have given lawmakers a $1,600 raise in 2011. By rescinding the increase, lawmakers saved taxpayers $850,000 for next year.” 

The Hill article also said, the House (111th) voted against a $2610 pay raise for each member, which amounted towards a savings of $1.4 million to the taxpayers.  The article added, “In 2008, members did not opt to rescind their pay and received a $4,100 increase, or 2.5 percent,” which cost taxpayers just over $2.2 million.

updated 07/10/12