Posted by:  Heinz Brisske

A tight year for Medicare could force millions of seniors to pay at least $650 more for public insurance in 2016, sparking a likely showdown between policymakers and activist groups, according to news sources. AARP promises to fight the 52 percent increase in premiums forecast for nearly a third of Medicare Part B beneficiaries, including higher-income families and those enrolling in the program for the first time.

All enrollees could see yearly deductibles climb from $147 to $223 under Part B, which covers outpatient services, emergency visits, and other medical care for more than 47 million elderly and Americans with disabilities. Lawmakers, including Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), have begun lining up pre-emptive opposition in Congress. At the AARP Pennsylvania office in Harrisburg, advocacy manager Ray Landis said affected enrollees could pay at least $54 extra each month in premiums. He called that especially worrisome for new beneficiaries joining the program in 2016, all of whom would be subject to the higher premiums projected to start around $159 a month.