Social Security Matters: Ask Rusty – Why Is My Medicare Part B Premium So High? – The Coastland Times – Community News
Social Security

Social Security Matters: Ask Rusty – Why Is My Medicare Part B Premium So High? – The Coastland Times

AMAC Certified Social Security Advisor Russell Gloor, Association of Older American Citizens

Dear Rusty: Social Security deducts $297 per month for my Medicare Part B coverage. I have a so-called ‘windfall benefit’ because I receive a pension from my former state employer. Before my 65th birthday in July of this year, Social Security paid me $764 a month, but when I turned 65, they reduced my amount to $467 a month. I’ve read that the Part B premiums for 2021 are $148.50 so I’m wondering why am I paying double that amount? Could it be that I never signed up for Medicare Part B and they started deducting that amount automatically? Some kind of fine? If so, it seems rather high. Can you explain why I pay so much for Medicare Part B? Signed: Curious About Medicare

Dear curious: Your Part B premium of $297/month has nothing to do with the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). WEP affects (reduces) your Social Security retirement benefit, but does not affect your Medicare premium. Your Medicare Part B premium is $297/month because of another Medicare rule known as “IRMAA,” which is the “Income Related Medicare Adjustment Amount.” How IRMAA works:

Medicare determines your Part B premium amount each year using your combined income (from all sources) from two years earlier, so your 2021 Part B premium is based on your 2019 income. Part B is called your Adjusted Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI). This is your normal adjusted gross income on your tax return plus any other non-taxable income you may have had (including half of your SS distributions). , untaxed interest, etc.). If your MAGI exceeds a certain threshold, your Part B premium will be more than the standard $148.50.

The IRMAA thresholds at which you pay a higher Part B premium depend on your tax filing status. A couple filing less than $176,001 together with MAGI pays the standard part B premium ($148.50 for 2021), and a single tax preparer whose MAGI is less than $88,001 also pays the standard Part B premium, but income that exceeding these thresholds means a higher part B premium. How much higher depends on how much your MAGI exceeds the above base amounts. The Part B IRMAA premium increases on a scale in proportion to how much your MAGI exceeds the base threshold and, from what you’ve shared, it appears that your 2019 MAGI resulted in a 2021 Part B premium of $297/month.

Since you were already collecting Social Security when you turned 65, you were automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A (which is free) and Medicare Part B (which you pay a premium for), and therefore your Medicare premium increased at that time. If you also have “meritorious” health care from your or your wife’s employer (“meritorious” is a group plan with at least 20 participants), you can opt out of Medicare Part B by completing Form CMS-1763 and interviewing relate to Social Security. That way, you can save that $297 monthly Part B premium as long as you have other “deserving” employer coverage, then re-enroll in Part B during the special enrollment period that begins when your employer coverage ends (or shortly before that to avoid getting a gap in health coverage).

If you retired and your combined income in 2020 was much lower than it was in 2019, Social Security will automatically adjust your 2022 Medicare Part B premium based on your combined income reported to the IRS on your 2020 tax return. If you retired in 2020, you may also want to request Form SSA-44 ( to claim a “life-changing event,” which could lead to a lower Part B premium for 2021 as well.