We see this ALL the time! A client comes to us when they are turning 65 or ready to terminate their employer group plan. Since we educate our clients, we help them to figure out how much their Medicare premiums will be. Many times, our clients’ jaws hit the floor when we tell them what they will be paying. “But but but…I’m retiring and my income will be dramatically lower!”, is usually their response. Weeeelllll, Social Security and Medicare can care less about that little tidbit of info. What they look at is – what was your income TWO 2 years ago! The next response is, “OMG…that’s when our CPA and financial planner advised us to sell our rental property! And the next year, they suggested we convert our IRA to a Roth IRA!”. Yikes!! My guess is, the next conversation with those two professionals won’t go very well :/
Affectionately known as IRMAA, the Income Related Medical Adjustment Amount will be assessed on your Part B (Doctors/Outpatient) AND your Part D (Drugs) until you can PROVE your Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) is lower. Poor IRMAA…NO ONE WANTS TO DATE IRMAA! There are ways to avoid and eliminate IRMAA but you may have to pay higher costs until you can prove your income is lower. Many times, that may be till you file your taxes the next year. Unless you plan, you may be paying significantly higher rates for up to one year 🙁
For most people, here’s how it works:
1) Look at Line 37 of your personal tax return. That’s your AGI.
2) For your MAGI (good to check with your CPA for you exact MAGI), there are a lot of items to add back in but the two main ones that we see are:
Untaxed social security
3) Go to: https://debbiehoffman.com/medicareplans/ Scroll down for the IRMAA charts. Find your tax filing situation and you’ll easily what your IRMAA can possibly be.
How can you avoid or minimize IRMAA? During the 1 – 3 years before enrolling into Medicare:
THREE (3) years before you go onto Medicare:
Sell any property that will incur a capital gains.
Be finished converting IRA’s to ROTH IRA’s by this year.
TWO (2) years before you go onto Medicare:
Contribute as much as possible to your retirement accounts.
If your earnings are very high and you contribute the maximum to your retirement accounts, check with your financial planner and CPA about selling some assets at a loss during both years before applying for Medicare.
Consider buying rental property. Normally, you can count on the depreciation and expenses to fix up the property which many times will give you a loss during the first few years. AND the loss appears on the front page of your 1040 which lowers your MAGI!
Consider starting a business. Many times, you’ll have a loss those first few years with start-up costs and it can offset your earnings.
Consider holding off starting your Social Security benefits until your income will be lower.
If you have a lot of tax-exempt interest, consider moving those into a financial vehicle that can ‘defer’ the interest (a deferred annuity).
If there is no way to avoid it, when you can PROVE your income will be lower, file a reconsideration form with Social Security. When the time comes, file your taxes asap and run (don’t walk) to your local Social Security office with your taxes in hand and this form: https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ssa-44.pdf. Social Security will then adjust your Part B and Part D premiums to your normal MAGI.
Is your head about ready to explode? No worries! Just call us and we easily walk you through what to do. Better yet, have your CPA and financial planner call us and we’ll all work on together for you 🙂 Remember to reach out to us at AGE 62 or 3 years from when you will be applying for Medicare so we can really work our magic!
Hoffman Insurance Resources
By calling the number listed on this page, you will be reaching a licensed insurance agent. Debbie Hoffman and Melinda Gann are not connected with the Federal Medicare program.
Today begins Medicare Open Enrollment – Oct 15th – Dec 7th. This is the time to change Part C (Medicare Advantage Plans) and Part D (Part D Plans). All plans seem to change something, especially the drug formulary. Look at your ANOC (Annual Notice of Change) booklet that you recently received (or call your Plan if you haven’t received it yet). The first few pages will tell you what is changing in your Plan for the next year. There are also new Plans out for 2018 and you need to research to see if there is another Plan that may offer you better benefits. Many Medicare Advantage Plans offer extra benefits like chiropractic, acupuncture, vision, hearing, dental or gym memberships. If you feel your Plan is good for you next year, there is nothing to do. It will simply roll over.
If you have a loved one that is on Medicare, please help them. Many times, they stay on the same Plan because they just don’t know how to research. You can make a huge difference in their lives by getting them to call us!
Be aware of the Star Ratings of the Plans also. Medicare gives an overall rating of the Plan’s quality and performance for the types of services each plan offers. For plans covering health services, this is an overall rating for the quality of many medical/health care services that fall into 4 and 5 different categories. From my experience, there is a reason a Plan gets a low rating so BEWARE!
This is also the time for those that are uninsurable to possibly obtain ‘guaranteed issue‘ into a MediGap supplement plan. If ANY benefit in your Medicare Advantage Plan increased by 15% or was eliminated, you can go back to original Medicare (Part A & B) and obtain a stand alone Part D Plan (for drugs). Being on this option (with a MediGap plan) gives you the choice to see any Provider that accepts Medicare, no referral needed. It comes in handy if you want to go to a skilled nursing facility of your choice or see a Provider out of town.
You can do your own research by going to Medicare.gov or reach out to an independent insurance agent such as ourselves. We conduct a thorough search for you and will let you know if your Plan is still the better Plan for you next year. And there is no extra charge for our services. How do we get paid? If another Plan is better and we’re able to place the application for you, we receive a commission from the insurance company. Make sure the person you are dealing with is REALLY independent and represents MANY companies. We have come across many agents that claim they are independent and they are however, they are only Medicare certified with one or two companies. At Hoffman Insurance, we are contracted with over 40 companies and Medicare certified with 13 carriers. You’re best interest is our interest, whether we get compensated or not. Reach out to us early because it gets quite busy during the last week of Open Enrollment!