How to Reduce Medicare Premiums
- Find out more about how to reduce your monthly Medicare premium payments, how IRMAA charges work, how to file an appeal and other ways to cut Medicare costs.
While Medicare is designed to make healthcare more affordable for retired adults and those with disabilities, it's not completely free. You may be paying some Medicare premiums, especially if you have Part B coverage or opted for a Medicare Advantage plan.
While those premiums tend to be much less expensive than premiums for other types of healthcare, they can still be a hit to your budget. If you've recently had a change in income and are struggling to pay your Medicare premium, here's a look at some things you can do to help lower your monthly payment.
Some Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans offer $0 monthly premiums, though these plans may not be available in all locations. You can visit MedicareAdvantage.com to compare your local plan options to find the Medicare Advantage plans with the lowest 2023 premiums.
How to Reduce Your Monthly Medicare Premium
How IRMAA Affects Your Premium Amount
In 2023, the standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B is $164.90. However, some Medicare beneficiaries actually pay more than the standard Part B and Part D premiums due to IRMAA (Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount).
Essentially, Medicare utilizes IRMAA to evaluate your modified adjusted gross income from 2 years ago. If it finds you earned over a certain threshold (which typically varies from year to year), you may automatically be subject a higher premium for Medicare Parts B and D.
Fortunately, if you've recently had a change in income due to losing your job or working fewer hours, you can appeal these IRMAA charges.
Filing an IRMAA Appeal
One way you can request that IRMAA increases to your monthly premium be reduced or reversed is by filling out and submitting an IRMAA Appeals Form. Typically, the best practice is to personally bring the form to your local SSA (Social Security Administration) office after completing it. However, you can also mail it if necessary.
Be sure to include supporting documentation if you can, such as a termination notice from your employer or pay stubs that prove your income has changed drastically since 2 years ago. As long as you meet just one of the qualifying events listed on the Appeals Form, there's a good chance you'll have a lower premium approved.
Medicare Savings Programs
There are also certain circumstances in which you may qualify for assistance from the state to help all or some of your Medicare Part B monthly premium — as well as deductibles, copays, and co-insurance — through Medicare Savings Programs.
Generally speaking, these programs have monthly income limits. These plans often vary from state to state, and if you feel you may qualify for one, you should consider contacting your state Medicaid department.
Other Ways to Cut Down Premium Costs
- Get a Medicare Advantage Part B premium reduction. Some Medicare Advantage plans have a built-in premium reduction, reducing the total costs you pay for bundled Medicare coverage. These are sometimes called Part B giveback plans.
- Get a low-income subsidy. Medicaid enrollees automatically qualify for the Extra Help subsidy. Even if you don't qualify for Medicaid, you may still be eligible for Extra Help.
- Deduct Medicare premiums from your taxes. Deductible medical expenses include Medicare Advantage, Part B, and Part D premiums. This does, however, come with a few limitations: you can only deduct medical expenses once you pay more than 10% of your income annually for medical needs.
Shopping Medigap Rates
If you have a Medicare Supplement plan, one way to lower your total costs for health insurance is to shop plan rates for that supplemental coverage. Many people assume they must wait until Medicare enrollment season every fall to shop Medicare Supplement plans, but this is not the case. In fact, Medicare Supplement plans are not subject to the fall election-oriented period; you may be able to choose a new plan anytime in the year.
If you've had your Medicare Supplement plan for a year or more, you may have received some rate increases already. You may be able to find the same plan for a lower price in your local area with a bit of shopping around. Compare your local plan options online, or get help from a licensed insurance agent who can help you apply if you're eligible.