2009 Medicare Premiums and MPFS Rates Status Quo

The good news is that the standard Medicare Part B monthly premium in 2009 will remain at 2008 rates—$96.40 (for single filers who earned $85,000 or less in 2007). Want the bad news?

Well, there isn’t any bad news … yet.

For the first time in years, premiums will not increase because, in addition to an expected growth in the cost and use of outpatient health care providers and suppliers, the reserve in the Part B account of the Supplementary Medical Insurance (SMI) trust fund has “runneth” over.

In the past, premiums were set higher to make up for prior unexpected legislation costs that increased Part B spending. Due to those increases and a $9.3 billion bounty returned June 30 to Part B account assets that was “inadvertently” drawn for certain Part A hospice benefits, the SMI is now above adequate levels. With asset levels more than adequate, the prior year’s included margin is also being eliminated in 2009.

Here’s where it could get ugly. If actual Part B expenditures turn out to be higher than estimated, assets will be drawn down at a much faster rate. CMS says legislation like the 2008 Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (MIPAA) would not only necessitate additional increases in the 2010 Medicare premium, it would mean a 20 percent pay cut for physicians.

This report is based on a Sept. 19 Fact Sheet released by CMS and is available online.

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2 Responses to “2009 Medicare Premiums and MPFS Rates Status Quo”

  1. Dianne Showalter says:

    NO CUTS TO PROVIDERS. This is inappropriate and will force more physicians to leave and no longer practice medicine. Since the baby boomers are retiring and the needs for physicians will increase you will force the remaining physicians to take up the slack and patients will not have any access to care because there are not enough physicians to see all the Medicare Patients

    Not a smart move CMS if you cut your physicians reimbursements.

  2. Alisa Scheiblein says:

    If Medicare keeps cutting reimbursements, they are going to find a lot of physicians dropping out of network and just taking commercial insurance or become a cash provider only and letting the patients file their own insurance. It’s almost to the point where the insurance companies (including Medicare) are telling doctors what they can and can’t do in treating their patients. In my opinion, they are thinking more about money than the care that the patients really need. To my knowledge, I don’t think Medicare and commercial insurance went to medical school and received a degree?

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