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Capitol Health Call
October 13, 2004

Medicare Premiums Rising

JAMA. 2004;292(14):1673. doi:10.1001/jama.292.14.1673-c

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.

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