One way to pay for soaring Medicare costs is to ask some Medicare participants to chuck in a bit more.

Tucked away in the 2003 Medicare Prescription Drug Bill is a little-noticed provision that adds a surcharge to Medicare premiums depending on how high your income is.

If your adjusted gross income is $80,000 to $100,000, your surcharge will be about 13 percent. If your income is more than $200,000, your surcharge will be 73 percent. By 2009, you’ll pay between one and a half to just over three times the standard amount.

If premiums rise just 10 percent per year, which is considered a relatively conservative forecast, affluent beneficiaries will pay Medicare Part B premiums of more than $375 per month in 2009.

Under current law, the $80,000 threshhold and income brackets are scheduled to adjust each year to keep pace with inflation. If you’re going to pay the surcharge, you might just want to examine your other options.

With practical, informative consumer advice, I’m Ilyce Glink, News-Talk 750 WSB