WASHINGTON (AP) - Higher Medicare premiums are probably in store for many seniors if there's a budget deal between President Barack Obama and Republicans in Congress.
Both sides agree on expanding a current, little-known law so more retirees considered well-off by the government are required to pay higher premiums for outpatient and prescription coverage. That would raise $20 billion or more over 10 years.
But it could come as a shock to many seniors who consider themselves solidly middle-class, and by no means wealthy.
Right now about 5 percent of Medicare beneficiaries pay higher premiums. That number could grow to 25 percent if the change goes through.
The higher premiums kick in for individuals making more than $85,000 and couples earning above $170,000.