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How To Appeal Medicare Charges If You've Been Impacted By Covid

How To Appeal Medicare Charges If You've Been Impacted By Covid

Nearly one in four U.S. adults say they or someone in their household was laid off or lost their job because of the coronavirus outbreak.  Among older workers, many remain unemployed, are working fewer hours or have simply chosen to retire early.

For individuals or couples where even one spouse is on Medicare, a change in income is one of several reasons to consider appealing the monthly premium for the governmental program.  In 2021, the standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B enrollees is $148.50.  However, surcharges are often added based on income.

Prior to Covid, if you earned more than certain levels, you likely are aware of the existence of these surcharges.  The Medicare premium surtax, also known as the Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA), kicks in when your adjusted gross income exceeds $88,000 for single taxpayers and $176,000 for married couples filing joint returns.

The IRMAA surcharge increases as adjusted gross income increases.  For 2021, the maximum IRMAA is $356.40, bringing the total monthly cost for Medicare Part B to $504.90 ($6,058.80 yearly). That's for singles with $500,000 or more of adjusted gross income or married couples with $750,000 or more.

Each year, the Social Security Administration (SSA) notifies all Medicare beneficiaries of their Part B Premium.  The news usually arrives with your annual notice of Social Security benefits.  You can also access your current Part B premium online via the SSA's website. 

There’s a two-year lag between the level of adjusted gross income and IRMAA. Income levels for 2019 are used to determine a beneficiary’s IRMAA for 2021.  While SSA has not officially released a notification explaining they will accept Covid-related appeals, individuals who meet qualifying conditions have nothing to lose by submitting a Medicare IRMAA Life-Changing event form.

According to the American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance, an individual can appeal Medicare charges for various life-changing events.  These include divorce or death, job loss or reduced work hours.

Medicare Supplement Insurance Buyer Tips

If saving money is one of your objectives, here's a tip to get the best Medicare Supplement insurance when turning age 65.  Many Medigap insurers offer a spousal discount that can range from a low of three percent to as much as 14 percent.  Just as the levels differ, so do the rules.  This can be an important question to ask the agent you work with.

Selecting the best plan of Medicare coverage today can be complex, especially for those turning 65 and becoming eligible for the first time.  Many retirees had limited choices pre-selected by their employer or organization.  With Medicare, the options can be far more extensive.
Whether you choose to work with one of the growing number of call centers offering Medicare insurance information and options or with a local Medicare insurance agent it is important to ask questions and request information in writing.   The American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance makes available a free-to-use online Zip Code-based directory providing contact information for agents nationwide.  It's a good resource to check out when you want answers to questions or help with Medicare insurance related matters.


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Posted-In: Health Care General