You might pay a higher Medicare premium

You don’t have to be rich to pay a higher Medicare premium. I’m running into more and more clients and friends who are going to be hit with the Income-Related Monthly Adjusted Amount (IRMAA) when they enroll in Medicare…. and Part D.

A friend of mine turns 65 next month and she just got the IRMAA letter. It says that Social Security looked at her tax record from two years ago when she was working full-time and made well over the $88,000 threshold for a single person to be hit with a higher Medicare premium.  She will also pay a higher premium for Part D.

The letter from Social Security says the standard Medicare premium is $170 per month. But her Part B premium will be $207.90.  (Note:  This amount goes up each year, so Google “IRMAA” to see the latest numbers.)

You can appeal your higher Medicare premium.

My friend stopped working a few months ago and signed up to take her Social Security.  Her income will be well below the $88,000 IRMAA threshold so I told her to appeal the IRMAA and I sent her info I recently received from a client of mine.

A client appealed his higher Medicare premium and won.

I have a client who is married, and his income was over $176,000 when he was working.  But he stopped working last year and he turned 65 this year.

When we met to sign him up for a Medicare supplement and a Part D plan, I told him he would be charged a higher Medicare premium because Social Security looks back two years to determine if he should be affected by the IRMAA.  I also told him he should appeal the higher Medicare premium and that he should report back to me when he got the result of his appeal.

Last month I got an email from Rod with good news.

NOTE:  This info was from before COVID when people could go into the Social Security office.


I thought I’d let you know that I took your advice and disputed that I needed to pay more in Medicare Part B premiums because I made too much money two years ago.  Success!

There is a form to fill out (Form SSA-44), available in PDF on-line, down-loadable and fill-out-able.  It’s a fairly short form, but allows me to put my estimated Adjusted Gross Income for last year.  I filled out and printed the form, and took it, along with letters from my employer that showed we retired in August, to a Social Security office.  The letters proved that we had experienced a “life-changing event”.  It took the girl who helped me just a few minutes to reduce my Part B premium back to the nominal value.

The lesson here is:  If you are no longer working, you should appeal the higher Medicare premium.  You will need some kind of documentation to show you had a “life-changing event” and that your current income does not warrant a higher Medicare premium.

If you sell a second home, you might get hit with the IRMAA.

If you take a lot of money out of your IRA to make a big purchase, you can get hit with the IRMAA.

I met recently week with a client who said she and her husband took money out of their retirement account so they could pay cash for their house when they moved to Tucson. They got the IRMAA letter, and they appealed.  This couple lost their appeal.

Google “IRMAA” to see the latest chart for income and what you would pay if you are over the income limit (which goes up a bit each year).

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