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posted: 12/20/2012 7:15 AM

Medicare premiums could rise for many retirees

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  • Vice President Joe Biden, third from right, looks down as President Barack Obama gestures as he talks about the fiscal cliff negotiations during a news conference in the briefing room of the White House on Wednesday

      Vice President Joe Biden, third from right, looks down as President Barack Obama gestures as he talks about the fiscal cliff negotiations during a news conference in the briefing room of the White House on Wednesday
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

Higher Medicare premiums are probably in store for many seniors if there's a budget deal between President Barack Obama and Republicans in Congress.

Both sides agree on expanding a current, little-known law so more retirees considered well-off by the government are required to pay higher premiums for outpatient and prescription coverage. That would raise $20 billion or more over 10 years.

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But it could come as a shock to many seniors who consider themselves solidly middle-class, and by no means wealthy.

Right now about 5 percent of Medicare beneficiaries pay higher premiums. That number could grow to 25 percent if the change goes through.

The higher premiums kick in for individuals making more than $85,000 and couples earning above $170,000.

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