Hello Toni: I’ll be 65 in October, I’m self employed and my income is over $250,000. I recently received a letter from the Social Security Administration (SSA) telling me that my monthly Medicare Part B premium would double to $340.20 per month based on a reported income of $170.10. That came as no surprise, but Social Security also said the monthly adjustment for prescription drug coverage would be an additional $51.70. Why is?
I am in excellent health and do not take prescriptions. What happens if I don’t apply for a Medicare prescription drug plan? Do I still have to pay the “extra” $51.70?
What if a person goes the Medicare Advantage route instead of Original Medicare and Medicare Supplements? Can they avoid additional premiums of $340.20 per month for Part B and $51.70 per month for Medicare Part D prescription drug plans?
– Mike from Oklahoma City
Mike: Sorry Mike, but you can’t avoid additional IRMAA (Income-Related Monthly Adjusted Amount) premiums if your income exceeds a certain threshold, even if you’re on Original Medicare and Medicare Supplements or a Medicare Advantage prescription drug plan. to be nominated. It’s gonna happen anyway.
Social Security bases your income on both you and your spouse (if you’re married), regardless of whether your spouse is Medicare eligible or not. The amount of MAGI (modified adjusted gross income) reported on your annual income tax will trigger an IRMAA increase.
The bottom line is that if your income exceeds these amounts and you have a Medicare Advantage with Prescription Drug Plan (Part C) or a standalone Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D) from your Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, you must also pay IRMAA premiums, whether you deduct your premiums from your Social Security check or pay Social Security directly (since you haven’t received your Social Security check yet).
If you are not enrolled in a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, whether it is a standalone plan or a Medicare Advantage plan, you will not receive additional Part D IRMAA Awards. However, it’s not a wise decision not to enroll in a Medicare Part D plan just because you won’t be taking a prescription when you enroll in Medicare.
Keep in mind that if you do not enroll in a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan at the right time, not only will you not have prescription drug coverage, but you will also face a Part D late enrollment penalty if you log in later.
That’s why Tony says in The Office, we encourage everyone to enroll in a Part D prescription drug plan, whether you take no prescriptions or take a lot. Don’t want additional fines.
Joining a Medicare Advantage plan in place of the original Medicare with Medicare Supplement/Medigap and Medicare Part D plan does not prevent Medicare or Social Security from collecting additional IRMAA premiums for Medicare Parts B and D. About Medicare IRMAA Medicare Rules Part D Additional IRMAA Awards were effective January 1, 2011.
Since the annual Medicare and You Guide is typically mailed before October 1st, it does not include Medicare costs and premiums for that particular year. You should look for annual Medicare costs and premiums, which are released around November 10th.
King is an author and columnist on Medicare and health insurance topics. He spent more than 27 years as a top sales manager in the regions. To answer questions about Medicare, send an email [email protected] or call (832) 519-8664.