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Health Care & Insurance

How to Reduce the Medicare High-Income Surcharge

You may be able to get Medicare's surcharge reduced if your income has dropped because of certain life-changing events.


For most people, the Medicare Part B premium is $104.90 per month in 2015. But your monthly bill could be between $146.90 and $335.70 per person if your adjusted gross income (plus tax-exempt interest) is higher than $85,000 if you’re single or $170,000 if you’re married filing jointly. Cross that threshold and you’ll also have to pay an extra $12.30 to $70.80 each month, based on the size of your income, for Part D prescription-drug coverage.

See Also: Guide to Getting the Most Out of Medicare, 2015

The Social Security Administration uses your most recent tax return on file to determine whether you’re subject to the surcharge (generally, 2013 tax returns were used to set 2015 premiums). But you may be able to get the surcharge reduced if your income has since dropped because of certain life-changing events, such as marriage, divorce or death of a spouse, or if you retired.

In that case, ask Social Security to use your more recent income instead. Submit your tax return for the year (or estimate the income if you haven’t filed yet) and provide evidence of the qualified change, such as a marriage or death certificate, a signed statement of retirement from your employer, or pay stubs showing your reduced income.

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