Number: 111- 21
Date: September 25, 2009

The House Passes H.R. 3631,
The Medicare Premium Fairness Act


On September 24, 2009, the House passed H.R. 3631, the “Medicare Premium Fairness Act,” by a vote of 406-18. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

The legislation contains the following provisions of interest to SSA:

Capping Medicare Part B Premiums at 2009 Levels

•  Would establish the Medicare Part B premium for 2010 to be the same as the 2009 amount. This premium freeze on the portion of Part B costs paid by beneficiaries would replace the traditional process used by the Department of Health and Human Services to determine the Part B premiums based on actual program expenditures.

•  Would also establish the Part B premiums for 2010 to remain at 2009 levels for those higher-income Medicare beneficiaries who pay an income-related premium adjustment. The income-related adjustment would still apply for these beneficiaries, meaning that they would continue to pay the same increased premium rate as calculated in 2009.

•  Would be effective for 2010 only.

Reimbursing the Part B Trust Fund for Loss of Funding

•  Would reimburse the Part B Trust Fund for incurred losses due to the freeze by transferring funds from the Treasury. The amount reimbursed to the Trust Fund would be based on an estimate from the Chief Actuary of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.