HHS announces lower Medicare premiums for 2012 than initially projected

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Due to the COLA adjustment, seniors won't be held harmless for Medicare premium increases as they have in recent years. As a result, the increase is lower and more evenly spread out than initially projected. 

In 2011, only about a quarter of beneficiaries — new enrollees, people with higher incomes and low-income beneficiaries whose premiums are paid by states — weren't held harmless and paid a higher premium of $115.40.

Democrats were quick to tout the news.

"Today's announcement of a lower Medicare Part B premium and deductible is welcomed news for America's seniors and people with disabilities," Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.), ranking member on the Ways and Means health subcommittee, said in a statement. "These reductions are a direct result of the Medicare reforms included in the Affordable Care Act – further affirmation of the positive impact health reform is already having on Americans' pocketbooks."