Q & A

What income levels do I need to consider when planning for my Medicare premiums?

Full Question:  My long-term partner and I recently married. We are a gay couple and now are experiencing new challenges as our union is now considered “taxable” by Medicare. Specifically, because our combined earnings are above $170,000 per year, I am being required to pay extra for our Medicare Part B and D premiums. Prior to our marriage, I paid $104.90 for my Medicare Part B premiums. Now that I am married, I will have to pay an extra $42 per month for the same coverage. In addition, my Medicare Part D premium will increase by $12.10 per month. Could you help shed light on this point?

Answer: The Medicare Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA) for Part B was implemented by Federal law in 2007; the IRMAA for Part D was implemented in 2011. Prior to IRMAA, the premium rates for Medicare Part B were uniform; all Medicare enrolled persons, regardless of income bracket or marital status, paid the same Medicare Part B premium rate. After the implementation of IRMAA, the monthly Part B premium rates were indexed according to income: Single persons with a Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) above $85,000 per year pay a Part B surcharge; Married couples (filing jointly) with incomes above $170,000 per year pay a Part B surcharge; Married couples (filing separately, with incomes above $85,000 per year) pay a Part B surcharge. While Medicare Part D premium rates vary from Part D plan to Part D plan, if IRMAA rules apply, a person will pay an additional surcharge. Read more…

Source: Amy Rubino, The Capital Gazette – July 6, 2014

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