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Medicare Part B Premiums for 2008

I was speaking with someone the other day who told me her Social Security monthly check declined from 2007 to 2008 and asked if that was possible or a mistake.  While the government does on occasion make mistakes (hard to believe), an increase in the Medicare Part B premium may have resulted in the decrease.  Part B generally covers outpatient services, such as doctors visits and home health services.  Medicare recipients pay a portion of the premium for this benefit, which increases every year.  (In 2008 the premium is $96.40.)  The monthly Social Security benefit also increases, resulting in a net increase in the monthly check from year to year.

This year, however, for the first time, higher income beneficiaries will pay a higher premium for Part B.  Individuals with income between $82,000 and $102,000 per year will pay a monthly premium of $122.20.  Married couples with income between $164,000 and $204,000 will pay the same premium amount.  There are 3 other income levels which result in higher premiums, the top level being $205,000 per year of income for individuals and $410,000 for married couples.   The premium in that case is $238.40 per month.