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Medicare premium to go up 13 percent

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WASHINGTON, Sep 17, 2005 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- The Bush administration says the basic Medicare premium will rise 13 percent next year, to $88.50 a month, because of increased use of doctors' services.

Many beneficiaries will pay an additional premium for the new prescription drug benefit, expected to average $32 a month, the New York Times reported.

For those beneficiaries, the combined premiums for doctors' services, outpatient hospital care and prescription drugs will average slightly more than $120 a month, the Times said.

Medicare covers 42 million people over 65 and older, and the disabled. In most cases, premiums are deducted from monthly Social Security checks.

The average monthly Social Security benefit for retired workers is $955 this year, the Times said. The amount for 2006 will be announced next month and will probably approach $1,000.

The newspaper quoted Kirsten A. Sloan, a health policy analyst at AARP, the big lobby for older Americans, as saying the basic Medicare premium was increasing

Copyright 2005 by United Press International.

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