Medicare hike could also hit some in middle class

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama's recently released budget proposes raising Medicare premiums for individual retirees making more than $85,000 and couples making more than $170,000.

It would also freeze the indexing for inflation of those income thresholds, so eventually 1 in 4 retirees will have to pay more. Right now only about 1 in 20 pays the higher rate.

The higher premiums surprised a retired city worker from Albuquerque, Sheila Pugach.

She says she's paying about $500 a year more in premiums for Medicare outpatient and drug coverage, all because required withdrawals from her retirement savings bumped her into a higher income bracket.

Republicans like Obama's idea, so Pugach could soon have more company.


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