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Blue Cross on Medicare Premium Increases

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Viral text claims a provision in the 2009 ObamaCare legislation will cause Medicare insurance premiums to increase to $247.00 per month by 2014.

Description: Viral rumor
Circulating since: 2011
Status: False (see details below)

Example #1:
Email text contributed by Sondra P., June 2, 2012:

FW: A message from Blue Cross Blue Shield

Professor Emeritus John W. Hill, JD, PhD
Kelley School of Business, Indiana University

Look clearly at the 2014 rate compared to the 2013 rate.

For those of you who are on Medicare, read the following. It's short, but important and you probably haven't heard about it in the Mainstream News:

"The per person Medicare Insurance Premium will increase from the present Monthly Fee of $96.40, rising to:

$104.20 in 2012
$120.20 in 2013
$247.00 in 2014."

These are Provisions incorporated in the Obamacare Legislation, purposely delayed so as not to confuse the 2012 Re-Election Campaigns. Send this to all Seniors that you know, so they will know who's throwing them under the bus.

Peggy Riehle
Internal Representative
Network Contracting

Example #2:
Email text contributed by Elsie T., Sep. 23, 2011:


Medicare Increase (sent as an informational Note.)

"What you permit, you promote."

The per person Medicare insurance premium will increase from the present monthly fee of $96.40, rising to: $104.20 monthly in 2012; $120.20 monthly in 2013; and $247.00 monthly in 2014. These are provisions incorporated in the ObamaCare legislation, purposely delayed so as not to 'confuse' the 2012 re-election campaigns. Send this to all seniors that you know, so they will know who's throwing them under the bus.

Example #3:
Email text contributed by Jreim, Feb. 19, 2011:


For those of you who are on Medicare, read the article below.

It is about the monthly amount of money you are going to pay into Medicare in 2011, 2012 and the huge increase you will pay in 2013. It's a short important article: You will pay it.

Social Security
Congress will not allow an increase in the social security COLA (cost of living adjustment). However, the per person monthly Medicare insurance premium will be increased from the 2009 premium of $96.40 to $104.20 in 2010, $120.20 for the year 2011 AND Yearly increases to a wonderful $247.00 in 2014. Thank You Obamacare!

And remember how Congress also gave themselves a $3,000 a month Cost of Living Adjustment!

Send this to all seniors that you know.


Analysis: The reason you haven't heard about these purported Medicare premium increases in the "mainstream news" is actually quite simple: they're fabricated. We don't know by whom, although it's clear the misinformation was disseminated for political purposes.

We do know that the phony figures weren't issued by Blue Cross Blue Shield as claimed in some versions of the message, because representatives of Blue Cross Blue Shield have challenged their accuracy (see sources below).

We also know they didn't come from Professor John W. Hill of Indiana University's Kelley School of Business as claimed in other versions of the message, because he has explicitly denied it. "The letter is bogus," Dr. Hill said in a statement provided to me by the university. "I did not create the letter, I do not have any association with Blue Cross/Blue Shield, nor did I consent to have my email signature placed at the top of the letter and circulated via the internet."

To be sure, Medicare premiums are expected to rise incrementally in the coming years due to a variety of factors including inflation and the effects of recent legislation, but they will not increase by the amounts claimed above.

For reference, here (as of Feb. 2012) are the actual and projected Medicare Part B standard premiums from 2009 through 2015:

2009: $96.40
2010: $110.50
2011: $115.40
2012: $99.90
2013: $110.50
2014: $115.80
2015: $120.80

SOURCE: Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of current-law estimates from the 2011 Annual Report of the Boards of Trustees of the Federal Hospital Insurance and Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Funds and proposed changes based on the President's Plan for Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction and H.R. 3630, the "Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2011," as introduced on December 9, 2011.

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Sources and further reading:

2012 Medicare Premiums Lower than Expected
About.com: U.S. Gov't Info, 31 October 2011

Medicare Part B Overview
About.com: Health Insurance, 1 April 2012

Is Medicare Part B Premium Going to $247?
Health Insurance Illuminated (blog), Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of NJ, 12 April 2012

Income-Relating Medicare Part B and Part D Premiums Under Current Law and Recent Proposals: What are the Implications for Beneficiaries?
Kaiser Family Foundation, Feb. 2012

Last updated 10/17/12

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