Today, Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx) applauded the announcement from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that monthly premiums for Medicare Part B, which covers doctors' visits and outpatient care, will be lower than expected in 2012 as a result of the Affordable Care Act's reforms to strengthen Medicare. In addition, seniors with Part B coverage will see lower deductibles, letting seniors keep more of their money.
"This announcement is yet another example of how the reforms in the Affordable Care Act to Medicare are helping to make health care more affordable for seniors," said Rep. Crowley. "For the 88,000 Medicare recipients in my district -- many of whom are struggling to make ends meet -- this announcement is welcome news. Combined with last week's announcement that Social Security beneficiaries will see a 3.6 percent cost-of-living increase in 2012, seniors will soon have some much needed economic relief."
Medicare Part B covers doctors' services, outpatient care, certain home health services, durable medical equipment and some preventative services. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the standard premium will decrease by nearly 14 percent in 2012, from $115.40 in 2011 to $99.90 in 2012. The 2012 Part B deductible will be $140, a $22 decrease from 2011.
Medicare provides comprehensive health care coverage to 47 million Americans, including 39 million seniors and 8 million people under 65 with disabilities.
The Affordable Care Act is especially beneficial to seniors and the Medicare program. The law:
* Provided a one-time, tax-free $250 rebate check to help the nearly 4 million seniors who reached the Medicare Part D coverage gap in 2010 cover the costs of prescription drugs;
* Reduces prescription drug costs and closes the "donut hole." Nearly 48,000 seniors who fall into the coverage gap have already benefited this year from a new 50 percent discount on covered drugs, saving an average of $800 per beneficiary;
* Provides free annual wellness visits and free Medicare coverage of key preventive services;
* Strengthens Medicare for the long-term -- extending Medicare's solvency by 12 years; and
* Cracks down on Medicare fraud, which creates savings for both seniors and all U.S. taxpayers.
Congressman Crowley is the seven-term representative from the 7th Congressional District of New York, which includes sections of Queens and the Bronx. He is a member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee and serves as a Chief Deputy Whip in the House of Representatives.