UNITED STATES─ Hello Toni: I recently purchased your Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced edition, but I still am confused on my Medicare issue. My husband retired from an oil company with full benefits. We both turned 65 last year and will now be going on Medicare. His company has automatically enrolled us in their Medicare Supplement plan. I understand that this is designed to provide coverage to supplement expenses covered under Medicare Part A, B and Part D. We are currently paying $152 a month for this plan.

However, I just received a letter from Social Security stating that due to “IRMAA” they are deducting a monthly adjustment amount of $376.00 from my May Social Security check and another monthly deduction of $50.70 for Part D. Why are they making me pay for the Prescription Drug coverage when I never signed up for it, and I am already paying for the coverage through my husband’s company? I am dumbfounded over what is happening! Can you clarify this for me, as it seems Social Security cannot? Thank you. Nancy from Lake Charles, LA.

Hello Nancy: From what you are explaining to me about your husband’s retiree insurance plan that covers Medicare Parts A, B, and D, I would conclude that this could be a Medicare Advantage Plan and not a Medicare Supplement.  A Medicare Advantage plan is a different type of Medicare plan from a Medicare Supplement.

Many are confused when they discover that they are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan and that their physician or healthcare facility is not accepting the Advantage plan that they are enrolled in.

Over the last few years many changes are being seen regarding company retirement plans during a Toni Says® Medicare consultation.

Since you have received an IRMAA letter from Social Security, I would imagine that your husband will be getting one also, depending on when his Medicare begins. The IRMAA amount which is billed to you is based on your last income tax filed in 2018, and if your income is over $87,000 as an individual or $174,000 as a couple, you will pay more.

The $50.70 IRMAA amount which you are paying is for the income level over $136,001 for an individual or $272,000 for a couple.

This Part C and D income Medicare Rule went into effect January 1, 2011, regarding Medicare Prescription drug plans and this may have affected you and your Social Security check. The IRMAA rule is explained on page 101 of the Toni Says® Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced edition.

If you have to pay an extra amount and you disagree because are not making the income you had before you retired, you can appeal because of a life change (i.e., a life changing event such as death of a spouse or retirement/loss of a job that lowers your income) and the Life Changing Event form may be what you and your husband will need and the form can be located in chapter 8 on page 136 of the Toni Says® Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced edition.

Remember, always get copies of the paperwork Social Security is going to process for your Medicare and Social Security issues.  You will always want back up in case you may have to go back and argue your case.

Toni King, author of the Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced edition, which is a simple guide that puts Medicare in people terms, is having a $5 Toni Says® readers discount at www.tonisays.com. If you have any questions regarding this article or any future Medicare issues reach out to Toni at 832-519-Toni (8664) or email at info@tonisays.com.