UNITED STATES—Dear Toni: I retired from my law firm in December and my Medicare began January 1. Today, my wife and I both received a letter from Social Security stating that our Medicare Part B and D will increase to $433.40 for Part B and $70.90 for Part D, totaling over $504.30 monthly from both of our Social Security checks.

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 $300,000; instead only receiving a $4,200 monthly for our combined Social Security checks.

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

Sam: I hear about this Part B and D premium problem almost every day since higher-income older employees are retiring.  People think that everyone pays the same amount for their Medicare Parts B and D, but those days are long gone.

This year the income levels were raised, and a few new levels have been added. If your income for an individual is over $85,000 or married is over $170,000; your Parts B and D premiums will be more.

Your MAGI was over $300,000 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.

Social Security uses your tax return from 2 years ago.  For 2019 they are using your 2017 tax return.

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

***If your income has gone down, YOU must inform Social Security the month when your Part B is in place, so Social Security can correct your amount as soon as possible.

Use form SSA-44 titled “Medicare Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amount- Life-Changing Event” and take this form to your local Social Security office to discuss appealing the IRMAA Part B and D premiums

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.

Many are not aware that an 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 in the future.

**Social Security reviews your income each year and will adjust your Part B and D premiums to your new income level the next year.

For more information on Social Security’s Life Changing Event form call 832-519-8664 or attend a Medicare workshop.

Toni King author of the Medicare Survival Guide® is giving a $5 discount on the  Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced book and bundle packages for the Toni Says® newspaper article readers at www.tonisays.com. If you would like any Medicare questions answered please contact us at info@tonisays.com or 832-519-8664.