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National MS Society supports call for Congressional action on likely increases to Medicare premiums and deductibles

October 9, 2015

Amid projections of large increases in Medicare Part B premiums and deductibles, the National MS Society and other national groups sent this letter to Congress urging them to protect those most likely to be impacted.  Although existing “hold harmless” rules assure an estimated two-thirds of Medicare Part B enrollees will NOT be impacted, many of the remaining third of enrollees could face premium increases of over 50%, plus larger deductibles.  Part B of Medicare provides coverage of doctor visits, MRIs and other outpatient care, which are services people receive outside the hospital.  Among the Medicare enrollees most likely to experience significant cost increases (those unprotected by the hold harmless rules) are: people who will be new to Medicare in 2016, enrollees who are NOT receiving Social Security Disability Insurance, and Part B enrollees with higher incomes who already pay more. 
The issue and potential remedies are complex, and these increases are only projections.  In anticipation of an early October announcement about actual increases, the National MS Society joined dozens of leading groups in a letter to Congressional leaders on September 30. Congressional leaders are discussing the issue and hope to reach a resolution in the next few days.       

UPDATE:  It is unfortunate that on the first day of Medicare’s Fall Open Enrollment period, the large increases in Medicare Part B premiums described above have been confirmed.  The Society greatly appreciates the efforts of the many Medicare advocates and members of Congress for their efforts to avoid  these increases for approximately 30% of all Medicare beneficiaries. 


About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide.


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