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medicare Archives - Sharkey, Howes & Javer

Thinking of Relocating When You Retire? Remember to Talk to Your Financial Planner

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Recently some of our clients came in for an annual review with Stephen Weatherby, CFP®. During their meeting they casually mentioned they were thinking of moving to a small mountain town in Colorado when they retire next year.

Little did they know, Stephen is well connected in the town they are considering moving to and immediately went to work researching on their behalf. Through his personal network he connected them with a trusted realtor, an attorney, and insurance agents. He even found short term storage facilities and an agent who specializes in short term rentals.

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Watch those Medicare Part B & Part D (Prescription Drug Coverage) Premiums: You May be Paying Higher Premiums than you Should!

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For our seniors 65+ and those caring for seniors…

Did you know that if your income has dropped significantly you may be eligible for a reduction of your Medicare Part B & and Part D (Prescription Drug Coverage) premiums?

If you’ve ever received a letter from Social Security telling you that your income level causes you to pay extra premiums on your Medicare Part B and Part D, then you should be aware of these rules.

The Social Security Administration receives data that is two-years old, specifically your Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI), each year from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and uses this information to determine the amount of your monthly premiums. If your income has dropped below specific thresholds, your premiums will decrease and vice versa. See the chart below for a breakdown of income levels and premiums required in 2016.

(source)

The important thing to note is that you don’t have to wait for two years for Social Security to get updated information from the IRS. Instead, if you know your MAGI has dropped below the income threshold on which your current premiums are based, then you can file an appeal along with some required documentation of your current MAGI and request a review.

Required documentation is:

  • A copy of your filed tax return and an IRS transcript;
  • A letter or statement from the IRS stating they have corrected your tax information and explaining the correction;
  • Your amended tax return, along with a letter from the IRS accepting your amended return or an IRS transcript; Your copy of your tax return that shows an obvious IRS transcription error in tax-exempt interest income; or
  • Your declaration under penalty of perjury that you lived apart from your spouse for the entire year when you filed your income tax return as “married Filing separately”. (source)

If the Social Security Administration finds that you’ve been paying a higher premium than you should have been, then they will refund the excess within 30 days of notifying you of their findings. So don’t wait, keep an eye on your income level and if you’re due a reduced premium, get filing!

For additional information read publications, Medicare Premiums: rules for Higher-Income Beneficiaries (SSA Publication No. 05-10536) and Medicare Premiums: What You Can Do If you Think Your Income-Related Premium Is Incorrect (SSA Publication No. 05-10125).

Medicare: Wading Through the Alphabet Soup

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How did Medicare get started? Let’s see how you do on this quiz.

  1. Which U.S. President signed Medicare as a law? (source)
    Answer: Lyndon B. Johnson
  2. How many people signed up for Medicare in 1965, its first year? (source)
    Answer: 19 million
  3. Before Medicare was signed into law in 1965, how many revisions had been drafted? (source)
    Answer: Approximately 80 revisions, compromises, and alternatives.

With 80 revisions, you can quickly assess how difficult it was to create Medicare from the very beginning. Over time, the Medicare system has not decreased in complexity.

For many people, their 65th

birthday is an extra-special celebration because of Medicare enrollment. However, the wrapped gift of Medicare comes with a very confusing tangle of ribbons and bows.

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