According to news from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today, beneficiaries over 65 who have been paying $96.40 a month in Medicare Part B premiums, will see their premiums rise next year to $99.90. This is significantly less than the increase predicted by CMS for 2012.  New Medicare enrollees who have been paying $115.40 a month will actually see their premiums go down. The Part B deductible decreases as well, by $22, and premiums for Medicare's Part D prescription benefit will remain unchanged for 2012.   Today’s Medicare announcement follows news last week that seniors will receive a 3.6% Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) in their 2012 Social Security checks.  That means the average retiree will receive a nearly $40 per month increase in their Social Security checks even including the Part B premium increase. “Today’s Medicare announcement is truly welcome news for millions of seniors worried that healthcare costs would once again eat away at this year’s COLA. For the first time in many years, most retirees can count on actually seeing an increase in their monthly check.  We’ve said all along that healthcare reform was vital to strengthen and improve Medicare for seniors and that given time the benefits would be undeniable.  Today’s announcement is further proof of exactly that.  Rather than trading away benefits in a so-called ‘grand bargain’, Congress should heed the lessons provided in today’s announcement.  Instead of cutting seniors’ benefits in the name of deficit reduction, we should be building on the successful reforms already passed to continue improving Medicare efficiencies while reducing costs.  The Affordable Care Act has shown we don’t have to cut benefits to seniors to save money in Medicare. The question is -- is the Super Committee even paying attention?” Max Richtman, President/CEO