Medicare premiums are going up $5 a month in 2013, the government said Friday. That's less than expected, but will eat up about one-fourth of a typical retiree's cost-of-living raise next year.
Medicare chief Marilyn Tavenner said the new "Part B" premium for outpatient care will be $104.90 a month. In most cases, it's deducted directly from a beneficiary's monthly Social Security check. Currently the premium is $99.90 a month.
Earlier this year, the government projected an increase of as much as $9, but health care inflation has remained modest.
High-income beneficiaries, those making above $85,000 a year individually or $170,000 for a couple, will face bigger increases. They will pay an additional $42 to $230.80 a month, depending on income. Most low-income beneficiaries have their premiums paid by Medicaid.
Tavenner also announced that Medicare's hospitalization deductible will increase by $28, to $1,184. Many seniors have some form of additional coverage to handle their hospital deductible.
The annual deductible for outpatient care will increase by $7, to $147.
Coverage for outpatient care under Medicare Part B is optional, but more than 90 percent of the program's 52 million beneficiaries sign up. Medicare covers people 65 and older, the disabled and those with serious kidney disease. Part B pays for office visits to doctors, preventive services and medical equipment.
Last month the government announced a 1.7 percent cost-of-living increase for the 56 million Americans on Social Security. That works out to raises averaging $19 a month come January.