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Paying more in Medicare Premiums

“How can I avoid paying more for the premiums for Medicare Part B and the prescription drug plan?”

Higher-income beneficiaries are subject to an Income-related Monthly Adjustment Amount, IRMAA for short. Since 2007, this amount has been added on top of the premium for Medicare Part B. In 2011, the Affordable Care Act extended IRMAA to Part D prescription drug coverage. Higher-income beneficiaries will pay a monthly adjustment on top of the drug plan premium.

The modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) that determines this threshold is tax-exempt interest and the adjusted gross income from the tax return two years prior to the current year. In 2021, the adjustments kick in at $88,000 for a single individual or a married person filing separately, and at $176,000 for a married person filing jointly. The higher the MAGI, the more an individual will pay. 

Additional monthly amounts for Part B in 2021 range from $59.40 to $356.40.  Additional amounts for Part D range from $12.30 to $77.10. 

If the MAGI of the individual or couple crosses a threshold, there is no way to avoid paying IRMAA. Failing to pay the adjustments will result in cancellation of coverage, leaving many out-of-pocket expenses uncovered. Plus, without Part B, a beneficiary cannot purchase a Medigap policy or a Medicare Advantage plan

Last updated: 11-11-2020