More Than Accounting

Medicare Part B 2008 Premiums Released

Posted by Rhonda Spaulding on October 19, 2007

The premiums for Medicare Part B have recently been released. The standard premium only went up by a few dollars from $93.40 to $96.40. However, if you are married filing jointly and made over $160,000 in 2006 you will see dramatic increases in your 2008 premiums. Be careful before you say that it is good they are taxing the rich, first you must understand how the SSA determines your “rich”.

The monthly premium charged is based on your modified adjusted gross income – the recipient’s 2006 adjusted gross income plus any tax-exempt interest. Maybe you are still saying who cares, but just realize the government is using your tax return from two years ago. If you are newly retired and have gone from a full-time job to living on a fixed retirement income you will be paying this higher premium for two years after your income has decreased. This causes the greatest problem for people, but it can be appealed. Divorce, death of a spouse or another unavoidable loss of income are also life changing events that can be appealed.

Unusual spikes in income from the sale of rental property, business or a home that exceeds the exclusion also affect your premium but cannot be appealed so just be aware!

Any appeals must be made within 60 days of your premium notice. This 60-day period begins when the individual receives the letter. The SSA assumes the letter is received five days after it is mailed unless the recipient can prove otherwise. The appeal form is available online at www.socialsecurity.gov/online/ssa-561.html. For more information on Medicare Part B coverage, see www.medicare.gov. You can see the full list of premiums by reviewing the US Dept Health & Human Services fact sheet.

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