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Medicare 101

What Is IRMAA?

Christian Worstell by Christian Worstell    |    Published Oct 03, 2019    |    Reviewed by John Krahnert

If you are a higher-income Medicare beneficiary, you can expect to pay higher premiums for Medicare Part B (medical insurance) and Part D (prescription drug coverage). The additional amount added to your premiums is called the income-related monthly adjustment amount (IRMAA)

IRMAA affects less than five percent of Medicare recipients, so most beneficiaries do not have to pay higher premiums. The income-related monthly adjustment amount only applies to those whose modified adjusted gross income is:

  • Greater than $85,000 (if you’re single and file an individual tax return)

  • Greater than $170,000 (if you’re married and file jointly)

Social Security determines if you’re required to pay an IRMAA based on your most recent federal tax return. If you meet the criteria for an IRMAA, they will send you a letter (see sample) with your premium amount, and an explanation of how they made the determination.

How Much You Can Expect to Pay

The standard Part B premium for 2019 is $135.50 per month. If you have Medicare Part D, your Part D premium amount will vary depending on the insurance company you purchase it from.

Below we show how much your IRMAA will likely be based on your modified gross income (MAGI) and filing status. 

Part B

2017 Individual tax return 2017 Joint tax return 2017 Married and separate tax return 2019 Part B premium
$85,000 or less $170,000 or less $85,000 or less $135.50
More than $85,000 and up to $107,000 More than $170,000 and up to $214,000 N/A $189.60
More than $107,000 up to $133,500 More than $214,000 up to $267,000 N/A $270.90
More than $133,500 up to $160,000 More than $267,000 up to $320,000 N/A $352.20
More than $160,000 up to $500,000 More than $320,000 up to $750,000 More than $85,000 up to $415,000 $433.40
More $500,000 More than $750,000 More than $415,000 $460.50

Part D

2017 Individual tax return 2017 Joint tax return 2017 Married and separate tax return 2019 Part D premium
$85,000 or less $170,000 or less $85,000 or less Your plan premium
More than $85,000 and up to $107,000 More than $170,000 and up to $214,000 N/A Your plan premium + $12.40
More than $107,000 up to $133,500 More than $214,000 up to $267,000 N/A Your plan premium + $31.90
More than $133,500 up to $160,000 More than $267,000 up to $320,000 N/A Your plan premium + $51.40
More than $160,000 up to $500,000 More than $320,000 up to $750,000 More than $85,000 up to $415,000 Your plan premium + $70.90
More $500,000 More than $750,000 More than $415,000 Your plan premium + $77.40

If you have both Medicare Part B and Part D, you’ll pay an additional amount for each. If you only have one, you’ll pay an IRMAA only on the one you have (Part B or Part D).

Should you decide to enroll in one and already pay an IRMAA for the other, Social Security will automatically apply the adjustment to the program when you enroll.  

NOTE: The adjustment amount for Part D is based on a percentage of the national base beneficiary premium, not a percentage of your plan premium.

What to Do if Your Income Decreases

If your income has gone down and the change is substantial enough that your income level no longer qualifies you for an IRMAA, contact The Social Security Administration to request a new initial determination.

The following situations may entitle you to a new decision regarding your adjustment amount:

  • You got married, divorced or became widowed
  • You or your spouse stopped working
  • You or your spouse list income-producing property because of a natural disaster or other event beyond your control
  • You or your spouse experienced a scheduled cessation, termination or restructuring of an employer’s pension plan
  • You or your spouse received a settlement from an employer because of a closure, bankruptcy or reorganization

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