Baby Boomers and high-income seniors bear burden of Medicare increase

Most seniors will not see their premiums for Medicare Part B increase in 2010. That's because there is a "hold harmless" provision of Social Security that prevents Social Security payments from decreasing from one year to the next as a result of Medicare Part B increases. The intention of that provision was to protect seniors on a fixed-income from losing income if the premium for Part B increases.

Well, for the first time in 35 years, Social Security payments are not going up, because there will be no cost of living increase. That means Medicare Part B premiums can't go up either, but only if you've already been collecting Social Security and have Medicare Part B taken out of your Social Security check.

Baby Boomers who won't reach full retirement until age 66 and who waited to start Social Security at that age to get a higher payout may be sorry they waited. Also, high-income seniors -- with incomes greater than $85,000 for individuals and $170,000 for couples -- will pay more as well. Both groups will bear the brunt of the Medicare Part B increase.