SHINE Coordinator: Medicare Part B Rumored To Rise 50 Percent

Oct 28, 2015

Seniors enrolling in Medicare are facing a tough decision when it comes to which plans they should sign up for.

The enrollment period started about two weeks ago, but the federal government has yet to confirm a price for Part B plans.

Most people currently enrolled in Medicare Part B pay about $105 a month.

Jim Mulcahy is the area coordinator and a counselor at the Senior Connection Center in Tampa for SHINE, which stands for "Serving Health Insurance Needs for Elders," a statewide program that helps seniors and disabled Floridians better understand out-of-pocket insurance costs.

He said rumors are swirling that monthly premiums for Medicare Part B will increase by as much as 50 percent.

"They're still going back and forth, as I say, there's all kinds of rumors,” Mulcahy said. “I just came back from vacation and the first thing I heard is $154 and that's strictly a rumor."

Medicare Part B covers certain doctors' services, outpatient care, medical supplies and preventive services.

Mulcahy said this is the first time he’s aware of that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service did not settle on a premium price before open enrollment started.

“That's kind of rough, so everybody's waiting (for news),” Mulcahy said. “And the new people that are calling us and going on, that's going to be a bullet to swallow."

The Medicare open enrollment period started Oct. 15 and ends on Dec. 7.

Daylina Miller is a reporter for WUSF in Tampa. Health News Florida receives support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.