NOVEMBER 19, 2012: Medicare has announced that the standard Medicare Part B premium will increase by $5 or approximately 5% in 2013.  The increase sets the new monthly Part B premium at $104.90.

This represents a smaller increase than had been projected by health care economists, who believed the increase would register at close to $9 a month. In 2012, Medicare Part B enrollees paid $99.90 a month.

With Social Security benefits set to increase by 1.7% in 2013, the $5 Medicare increase represents nearly 25% of the average COLA.

“No one wants to see the rates go up, but the good news here is that the increase is less than what we had expected. It is also less than what we saw this year in the private sector, where increases were still in the 8-10% range,” said Association Insurance Coordinator Cheryl Stillman. “The rates at the state and local levels will begin to take shape in March, with the GIC being among the first to announce its 2013 rates early that month.”

Over the past five years, Medicare rates have increased an average of 2% per year, for a total increase of $8.50 since 2007.