The largest premium increase in Medicare history was announced in September
by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
The DHHS said the monthly premium for Medicare Part B, will increase
in 2005 from $66.60 to $78.20—a 17.4% jump. Medicare Part B covers physician
services, outpatient hospital services, certain home health services, durable
medical equipment, and other items.
The DHHS said the premium increase reflects general growth in health
care costs, including higher payments to physicians. The hike will also allow
Medicare to replenish its trust fund reserves. The department said the increase
comes at a time when Medicare is improving access to physician services and
offering new preventive and health screening benefits.
Mitka M. Medicare Premiums Rising. JAMA. 2004;292(14):1673. doi:10.1001/jama.292.14.1673-c