UNITED STATES─ Dear Toni: Been reading your articles regarding COVID-19, being laid off and enrolling in Medicare properly. I have not read an article on how to lower the premium if you are not making the income you were before you were laid off.

I received a letter from Social Security stating that I must pay $462.70 for Part B and $70.00 for Part D, totaling over $532.70 monthly.

I was recently told that you understand Medicare rules and I could possibly appeal my Medicare premium because I am not working full-time with an income of $350,000; instead only receiving a $2,400 monthly Social Security check.

What do I do to appeal this decision and bring my Medicare premium to a lower, affordable amount?  Thanks…Gary from Phoenix, AZ.

Gary: Do you want to wait 2 years for the IRS to inform Medicare that your income has decreased due to being laid off or do you want to let Medicare know that you have lost your job and are no longer making the kind of income you were making?

During a Toni Says® Medicare consultation, we hear about the Medicare Part B and D premium problems from those on Medicare who have been laid off or have decided to retire. People believe that everyone pays the same amount for their Medicare Parts B and D, but those days are long gone! If your income as an individual is over $87,000 or married is over $174,000; your Medicare Parts B and D premiums will be more.

Social Security explains in the letter that is mailed 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.

Your MAGI was over $320,000 and the table used in the letter you received from Social Security shows what the Part B and Part D premium adjustment (nice way of saying it’s going to cost you more) will be, whether you are filing single or married.

Most retirees do not realize that they have special situations also known as life changing events that can lower your “income related monthly adjusted amount” (IRMAA).

Below are a few of the life changing events that can make your income go down:

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

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

-you have lost property that you were making money from due to a disaster or other event beyond your control; or

-you or your spouse’s benefits from an insured pension plan stopped or went down

Use form SSA-44 titled “Medicare Part B Income-Related Premium – Life-Changing Event” and attach the original documents or certified copies to verify your change in income.

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.

Don’t forget a onetime increase in your income such as property that is sold or cashing in your IRA or even winning the lottery (aren’t we wishing for that) can change your monthly adjusted gross income (MAGI) that may cause you to pay a higher Part B or Part D premiums.

**Social Security reviews your income each year and will adjust your Part B and D premiums to your new income level the next year and again you will want to file SSA-44 form until your income finally comes down to the lower amount.

Toni King, author of the Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced edition is giving a $5 discount to the Toni Says® readers on the Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced book at www.tonisays.com.