I got an email from Felicity* last week.
She is a long-time client and recently applied for Social Security.
Felicity has been on Medicare for a number of years and through our discussions, opting for Original Medicare made sense for her.
As a primer, when one is turning 65, they should apply for Medicare (Part A is at no cost and whether one should sign up for Part B can be determined if they are currently working). This is true whether they are collecting Social Security yet or not. One can opt for Original Medicare which consists of Part A (Hospitals) and Part B (Doctors) and Part D (Prescriptions). Some folks choose to go with a Medicare Advantage plan that combines these parts and could have lower monthly premiums.
If you are approaching 65, we are co-hosting two free Medicare webinars with Blue Cross Blue Shield of MA on Thursday, September 8th. Click HERE to learn more.
Okay, back to Felicity. Last year, Felicity’s Part B premium was $442.30 a month (Part A is at no cost). She received a letter from Social Security saying her Part B premium was increasing to $544.30 a month. On top of that, there was an increase to her Part D premium of $71.30 a month.
What gives? Well, generally speaking, Medicare premiums (just like any health insurance) does increase over time. But why this increase? Namely, it was due to Felicity’s increase in income from a prior tax period.
Medicare premiums starts at $170.10 a month for Part B if one’s Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) is $91,000 or less and climbs from there. AGI over 500k? Your Part B premium would be $578.30.
They refer to these surcharges as IRMAA or Income Related Medicare Adjustment Amount (The government loves acronyms) and are imposed as one’s income goes up. Speaking of acronyms, I just learned that SNAFU is one and means “Situation normal, all fouled up. Sounds like Medicare).
Is there anything that can be done to get these surcharges reduced? Yes, if you fall into one of the eight “Life changing events” outlined by Social Security. Namely:
Death of a spouse
Loss of Income-producing property
Loss of Pension income
Employer Settlement Payment
If one of these apply, you can submit a form SSA-44 along with proof of lower income (such as a tax return) to request a reduction in the surcharge.
Felicity’s income actually did decrease so she qualifies for a potential reduction.
Rick’s Tip. If currently on Medicare, look at your income and see if you have “crept over” into the next bracket. We also keep an eye on this when we suspect one’s income might be going up.
If it looks like this could apply to you and you are a current client and want help filling out this form, please reach out to me. And I can help as I did for Felicity.
Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions. I’m here to help.
Here’s another piece you may find of interest “5 Social Security Myths” Click HERE
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All the best.
Rick Fingerman, CFP®, CDFA™, CCPS®
*Not her real name
Financial Planning Solutions, LLC (FPS) is a Registered Investment Advisor. Financial Planning Solutions, LLC (FPS) provides this blog for informational and educational purposes only. Nothing in this blog should be considered investment, tax, or legal advice. FPS only renders personalized advice to each client. Information herein includes opinions and source information that is believed to be reliable. However, such information may not be independently verified by FPS. Please see important disclosures link at the bottom of this page.