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How to Pay Less for Medicare by Avoiding the IRMAA Surcharge

IRMAA, or Medicare’s Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amount is an extra fee that is added to your monthly Medicare premium. What is the calculation for IRMAA surcharge and how can you avoid it?

Calculating and Avoiding Medicare's IRMAA

What is Medicare’s IRMAA Surcharge?

IRMAA is an added fee to your monthly Medicare premium that is based on your income from previous years.

It is common for retirees with large IRAs or have IRAs that make up a majority of their retirement savings, those with large pensions, or those who have high expenses in a single year.

How Much Will IRMAA Cost You?

IRMAA is unique in that it is one of the few taxes that has no phase in with respect to income levels. If you are one dollar above the income threshold, you will pay significantly more for your Medicare.

For example, in 2020, if a married couple on Medicare had income of $174,000, they pay $144 per month for Medicare Part B. If they have income of $174,001 – They will each pay $202 per month. That 1 dollar in extra income can cost a married retired couple about nearly $120 per month, or $1,400 per year in extra taxes.

In total there are 6 different brackets for Medicare premiums – And so, knowing where those income thresholds are, is a very important place to start.

How to Limit the Impact of Medicare’s IRMAA Surcharge

There are a few things retirees can do to limit the impact of IRMAA and keep yourself out of those higher brackets.

First, you can withdrawal money from Roth or taxable brokerage accounts during the year instead of IRAs. This will help reduce income that counts towards the IRMAA limit.

If you don’t have investments in a Roth account, you can consider doing Roth conversions which may not help you avoid IRMAA surcharges this year, but can help prevent it in future years.

Also, you can be flexible with your spending, and spread out large withdrawals over multiple years.

For example, if you intend to buy a car in January, maybe you can withdrawal half of the money in December of the year prior, and the remaining half in January to spread the income between 2 different tax years.  

Get Help Navigating Medicare

Health care is often one of the largest expenses over retirement. Knowing how to invest and spend your retirement assets to avoid IRMAA can help reduce that cost. 

Helping our clients avoid unnecessarily paying IRMAA is just one benefit we offer to our clients. To see how we can help you – Schedule a free, no obligation 30 minute meeting to talk with us.

Looking for more information on Medicare? Check out our guide to Medicare, here:

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