I am 73 and began taking my RMDs from my 401K when I turned 72. Could this have increased my Medicare Part B premium? This year, my Parts B and D monthly premiums increased to $329.70 for Part B and an extra IRMAA premium of $31.50 for Part D. I am married and my wife began a new job in 2021 with a higher salary. Since we are filing jointly, could this have an increased my Medicare premiums? My wife was just laid off and joint income has changed drastically overnight. What can I do?
James, Pearland, TX
People believe that everyone pays the same amount for their Medicare Parts B and D, but those days are long gone! So, your answer is, yes, definitely. Taking your RMDs (required minimum distributions) at 72 and your wife starting a job in 2021 could have absolutely raised your Medicare Parts B and D premiums.
The average American does not realize that any increase in your MAGI (modified adjusted gross income) when you are filing jointly can increase your Medicare premiums. Medicare bases your premiums on both your and your spouse’s income whether one is of Medicare age or under. Your RMDs combined with your wife’s increased income have raised your premiums.
What can you do about your high Medicare premiums?
I have good news for you, James. Since your wife is no longer employed and earning that higher salary, you can file an appeal with Social Security to have your Medicare Parts B and D reduced. Your premiums are based on your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) from your last filed tax return. If you don’t file an appeal, your premium won’t change for another two years, when Social Security receives that information from the IRS.
There is a special form, SSA-44 (life-changing event), available at ssa.gov that can lower your income-related monthly adjusted income (IRMAA). Examples of life-changing events that can make your income go down are marriage, divorce, the death of a spouse, a decrease in hours worked, or the loss of a job. Fill out form SSA-44 and attach any relevant original documents or certified copies to verify your change in income.
Chapter 8 of the Medicare Survival Guide, Advanced edition consists of the Social Security forms needed to enroll in Medicare properly.
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Medicare Survival Guide Advanced Edition
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What Medicare Option Is Best for You
• Medicare Supplement vs. Advantage
• Losing Retirement Benefits
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• The Donut Hole
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Toni King is an author, columnist, and radio and TV personality who specializes in Medicare, Social Security, and long-term care planning. While conducting a Medicare workshop in 2009, Toni was approached by a member of the audience who had received incorrect information about his Medicare Part B enrollment from Social Security. After taking a couple of days to help the gentleman straighten out his overwhelming problem, Toni’s new mission had become clear. Following more than 27 years as a top sales leader in the Medicare insurance industry, Toni would become an advocate for Americans receiving Medicare. Since then, Toni has devoted her life and career to putting Medicare into “people terms” with the help of her books, consultations, workshops, and website, ToniSays.com. Read more from Toni King here!