Medicare Costs Rising for Seniors

9-5-04- Most Oklahomans eligible for Medicare will have to pay almost $140.00 more a year for doctors' visits, outpatient care and home health care starting next year. The 17 percent hike is the biggest in Medicare's 40 year history.

Medicare Part B premiums will rise. About 96 percent of Oklahomans eligible for Medicare are enrolled in Part B.

Federal officials say Social Security increases should help make up the difference for most Medicare beneficiaries.

Doctor Mark McClellan with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
Services says the premiums are going up because of rising health
costs and the addition of Medicare drug coverage.

Federal officials say the Medicare premium increases will keep
payments to doctors from falling significantly.