Ask Larry

How Much Of A Percentage Increase Are We Receiving After The Cut To Medicare Premiums?

This is a two question post.
1) How much more are we receiving percentage wise in our SSA retirement checks after the cut to Medicare Premiums that have already occurred.?
2) This 2nd question is more of a statement our sharing something that recently occurred with me related to my Medicare health insurance. Several months ago I went in for outpatient Cataract surgery and associated eye surgery to address my Glaucoma due to severe Diabetes. During the surgery a mistake was made with the anesthesiology and I had a serious adverse reaction which became very physical and required the surgeon and other medical personal in the room to physically restrain me. I was injured during the incident which was complicated by me being in a semi-sedated state and suffering from Polyneurophty from my diabetes. The whole incident was compounded by all the medical providers involved trying to cover it up with false notes. In the course of researching what happened to me in order to file a formal complaint against the providers with the North Carolina Medical Board. After obtaining all of my medical records I uncovered some startling facts that I was not aware of at the time of the surgery. Prior to the eye surgery I had approximately 5 pre-operative appointments with the eye surgeon. On the morning of my surgery- which occurred at 7 am - I was presented with a great deal of paperwork at the outpatient surgical center which the eye surgeon referred me too. Remember - I was NPO ( nothing by mouth- food or water since 10 pm the night before.) In addition - prior to the surgery my vision was very poor and I was considered legally blind. Months later after I obtained all my records I learned that one of the documents I signed that morning of my surgery was an acknowledgment by me that my eye surgeon had a financial interest in the outpatient surgical center where I was steered for the procedure. This notice also included a notification that I had a choice of other surgical centers to use. Unfortunately- none of this was brought to my attention at the numerous prior appointments I had at this large Eye Surgery practice with about 15 different offices throughout North Carolina with about 30 eye surgeons associated with it and hundreds of other employees. More than just unseemly and deceptive- having worked in the healthcare field for over 40 years as a Social Worker, I was aware of the Stark Law which is supposed to prevent the abuse of Medicare by health providers who engage in self-referrals to other providers where they have financial interests.

Any thoughts on this situation? There is no pending litigation by me against the eye doctor or anesthesiologist- at least for now. I am by nature not a litigious person. I did file a Complaint against the providers with the North Carolina Medical Board. My question is what other action should I now take to try and address this - not so much for my specific situation, but rather for taxpayers - such as you and I. I think it may be a matter of general public attention. I am not looking for legal guidance- just some feedback. If you do have resources who may be more knowledgeable about the Stark Law and what constitutes a violation - please share with them so I can decide which way to proceed. Thank you in advance for help on this matter. Jerry

Hi Jerry. Let me start by saying that I'm sorry to hear about all of the problems associated with your eye surgery. However, my expertise is limited to Social Security benefits, and I've never heard of the "Stark Law". Therefore, and I can't give you any advice with regard to possible avenues of recourse.

If I understand your first question correctly, you're asking what the percentage increase to a person's actual net benefit rate would be if you couple the upcoming cost of living (COLA) increase with next year's reduction in the standard Part B Medicare premium. If so, there is no single answer to that question. The 8.7% COLA applies to a person's gross benefit rate, whereas the $5.20 reduction in the standard Part B premium rate applies regardless of a person's monthly Social Security benefit amount. As a result, the lower a person's gross Social Security benefit rate is, the more that the $5.20 reduction in Part B premiums will percentage rate to their net monthly benefit rate.

For example, let's compare a person with a current gross benefit rate of $500 to someone whose gross benefit rate is $2000. Both individuals are paying the current standard Part B premium of $170.10, making their comparative net benefit rates $329.90 and $1829.90. The 8.7% COLA will increase their respective gross benefit rates to $543.50 and $2174. After deducting the new standard Part B premium of $164.90, their respective net benefit rates will be $378.60 and $2009.10. The resulting increase in the lower net benefit rate from $329.90 to $378.60 amounts to a percentage increase of roughly 14.76%, whereas the net increase in the higher benefit rate from $1829.90 to $2009.10 amounts to a percentage increase of roughly 9.8%.

Best, Jerry

Oct 18 2022 - 12:45pm
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