Life Changing Events That Can Lower Your Part B and Part D Premiums

Dear Toni:

I lost my job in December when the oil prices began to tank. I was an engineer and my 2014 income, which Medicare used to determine my Part B premium, was over $300,000.

Today I received a letter from Social Security stating that I have to pay $389.80 for Part B and $72.90 for Part D, totaling over $402.00 monthly from my Social Security check.

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 $2,400 monthly Social Security check.

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

~ Thanks…Guy from Hockley, TX


Mr. Guy:

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

Social Security explains how they arrived at the Part B and D premiums based on your “Modified Adjusted Gross Income” (MAGI) from your last filed tax return.

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.

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 workingor 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 or before the end of September of each year, so Social Security can correct your amount to begin in January 1st of the next year.

Use form SSA-44 titled   “Medicare Part B Income-Related Premium – Life-Changing Event” and attach the original documents or certified copies to verify your change in income.

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.

Don’t forget a onetime 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.

                  **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 those interested in the different income levels for Medicare Parts B and D, visit to receive your copy of the 2016 Medicare costs and to sign up for the latest Toni Says newsletter.

Back by popular demand, Confused about Medicare and Social Security Workshops begin Tuesday April 5th at 2:00 PM at the Toni Says office 10998 Wilcrest, Ste. 120, Houston ,TX 77099. Seating is limited to 15. Please RSVP 832/519-8664.

Toni King is the author of the new Medicare Survival Guide® which is on sale on our website. For consultation regarding your Medicare needs or for a “Confused about Medicare” workshop or lunch and learn for your church or office, email Toni at “Ask Toni” or call 832/519-TONI (8664).

Share This