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In 2024: What Medicare Could Cost You

As a complicated health insurance program for Americans aged 65 or older, Medicare plays a critical part of any retirement plan. But many underestimate the impact it could have on your finances between premiums, deductibles, and late penalties if you enroll late.

Part Breakdown:
Part A (Hospital Insurance): Covers inpatient hospital stays, skilled nursing facility care, and hospice care. In 2024, most people qualify for premium-free Part A if they worked and paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years. However, there’s a deductible of $1,632 for each hospitalization stay within a benefit period [CMS].

​Part B (Medical Insurance): Covers outpatient services like doctor visits, lab tests, and preventive care. It carries a standard monthly premium of $174.70 in 2024, with an annual deductible of $240 before Medicare starts paying [CMS]. However, for higher-income earners, the Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA) can increase your Part B premium.

IRMAA and High-Income Earners:
IRMAA is a surcharge applied to your Part B premium if your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) exceeds a certain threshold. The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses your income reported on your tax return from two years prior to determine your IRMAA bracket.

Here’s a simplified breakdown:
Income Below Threshold: No IRMAA surcharge.

Income Above Threshold: Your Part B premium increases by a specific percentage depending on your income bracket. For example, in 2024, if your MAGI falls between $97,000 and $123,000 (single filer) or $194,000 and $246,000 (married filing jointly), your Part B premium would increase by 50%.

Part C (Medicare Advantage Plans): Offered by private insurers, these plans combine Part A and Part B benefits, often including additional coverage like vision or dental. Premiums vary depending on the plan you choose, but some may have lower out-of-pocket costs than Original Medicare (Parts A & B).

Part D (Prescription Drug Coverage): Offered by private insurers, Part D plans cover prescription medications. Premiums and coverage vary widely depending on the plan and the specific drugs you need.

Penalties for Late Enrollment:

There’s a crucial Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) of seven months around your 65th birthday to sign up for Part B without penalty. Missing this window can result in a delayed enrollment penalty, increasing your Part B premiums by 10% for each 12-month period you were eligible but didn’t enroll [CMS].

Average Costs:

While exact costs vary based on factors like income and plan selection, here’s a general idea:

Part A: Premium: $0 (for most) | Deductible: $1,632 per hospitalization stay
Part B: Premium: $174.70 (standard) | Deductible: $240 annually
Part C: Premium: Varies by plan | Deductible: Varies by plan
Part D: Premium: Varies by plan | Deductible: Varies by plan

Understanding Medicare’s premiums, deductibles, and enrollment deadlines is crucial for planning your retirement finances. If you’re a high-income earner, be aware of IRMAA surcharges and how they’re calculated based on your income reported two years prior. Remember, enrolling during your IEP avoids late enrollment penalties. Consulting with a Retirement Risk Advisor and a team of our experts experienced in Medicare can provide personalized guidance to navigate the intricacies and optimize your healthcare coverage in your golden years.

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Sources:
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (2024, January 17). 2024 Medicare Parts B Premiums and Deductibles [Fact sheet]. https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/fact-sheets/2024-medicare-parts-b-premiums-and-deductibles

Healthline Media. (n.d.). What Is IRMAA (Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amount) and How Does It Work? [Webpage]. Healthline. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/medicare/what-is-irmaa

​Social Security Administration. (n.d.). POMS: RS 01101.020 – Rules for Initial Determination of IRMAA. Retrieved from https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0601101020

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