Any Medicare Advantage insurance agent will tell you that Medicare prices and premiums are always subject to change. Prices will shift from year to year, and that’s true for 2019 as well. In particular, the changes this year will mostly impact top-earning Medicare beneficiaries.
Most people won’t see much change in their premiums, but if you’re in a higher income bracket, you will want to be aware of the price changes. In particular, those who are earning $500,000+ individually, or $750,000 in a joint tax filing, could be seeing large increases.
How Medicare Premiums Will Affect Top Earners In 2019
For most beneficiaries, Medicare premiums are the same across the board. However, high earners may have to pay an additional Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA) which is reflective of their ability to pay additional money into the system. The more they earn, the more they will be expected to pay.
These new pricing changes won’t affect Part A and Part C, which will remain the same. However, the costs associated with Part B and Part D will increase significantly for top earners – potentially more than a 200% increase.
Here’s how those changes break down.
Medicare Part B
Part B is the part that covers physician care and outpatient services, and the standard premium is $135. If someone is making less than $85,000 a year, this is all they would need to pay as their deductible. However, as income increases, the deductible will scale upwards:
- Someone making $85,000 – $107,000 would see an additional $53.50 added to their premium, bringing the total to $187.50.
- If they’re making $107,000 – $133,500, the additional premium is $133.90, for a total of $267.90.
- Someone making between $133,500 and $160,000 would pay an additional $214.30, or a total of $348.30.
And so on. These charges continue to scale upwards to the highest tax bracket.
Medicare Part D
Part D, of course, covers medication. This is more difficult to break down in a blog, because premiums will vary significantly from person to person. However, it does follow the same general pattern as Medicare Part B: the higher the tax bracket, the higher the adjusted premiums will be.
At the top end, a high-income earner could potentially end up paying 80-85% of the total costs out-of-pocket.
Can You Avoid These Increases?
If you are concerned about the possibility of paying too much for your Medicare, there are potential ways to change some of your income reporting. For example, putting money into a Health Savings Account makes them generally exempt from taxation, as long as the funds are only used for health-related purposes.
However, you will want professional support in setting these systems up and knowing how to best apply for Medicare to take advantage of discounts provided. That’s why you want a good Medicare Advantage insurance agent on your side!