UNITED STATES—Dear Toni, I am over 73 and began taking my RMDs (Required Minimum Distributions) from my 401K when I turned 72. Could this have increased my Medicare Part B premium for 2023?

This year my Part B and Part 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? She has recently been laid off and joint income has changed drastically. What can I do? Thank you, James, Pearland,TX.

James: Yes, definitely – taking your RMD at 72 and your wife starting job in 2020 could have raised your Medicare Part B and D premiums for 2022.

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 you and your spouse’s income whether one is Medicare age or under. Your RMDs combined with your wife’s increased income has raised your Medicare premiums.

The 2023 Part B premium of $329.70 and $31.50 for Part D tells me that your joint income in 2021 was from $246,001 to $306,000.

I have good news for you James. Since your wife is no longer employed and earning the salary, she had in 2021, you can file an appeal with Social Security to have your Medicare Parts B and D reduced.

Do you want to wait 2 years for the IRS to inform Medicare that your income has decreased due to a “Life Changing Event” such as you or your spouse being laid off/working part-time, death of a spouse or recently divorced or do you want to let Medicare know now that you have had a “Life Changing Event,” because you or your spouse are no longer earning that amount of income?

People believe that everyone pays the same amount for their Medicare Parts B and D premium. Those days are long gone!

If your income as an individual is over $97,000 or married over $194,000; your Medicare Parts B and D premiums will be more. Social Security explains in the letter they mail to you how they arrived at the Part B and D premiums based on your “Modified Adjusted Gross Income” (MAGI) from your last filed tax return.

James, your MAGI was over $246,000 and the table used in the letter you receive from Social Security shows what the Part B and Part D premium adjustment will be, whether you are filing single or married.

There is a special form SSA-44 available at SSA.gov known as “Life Changing Event” that can lower your “IRMAA” (income related monthly adjusted amount). Examples of life changing events that can make your income go down are:

-You have gotten married or divorced, or your spouse has died.

-You or your spouse have stopped working or have reduced your hours.

Fill out form SSA-44 and attach the original documents or certified copies to verify your change in income. (Chapter 8 of my Medicare Survival Guide Advanced edition consists of the Social Security forms to enroll in Medicare properly such as CMS-L564, CMS-40B and SSA-44.)

Once Social Security is satisfied with the evidence, it will update its records and correct Part B and Part D premiums to what your current income is.

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Visit www.seniorresource.com/medicare-moments to listen to Toni’s Medicare Moments podcast. Email Medicare questions to info@tonisays.com or call 832-519-8664.