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At What Income Limits Do My Medicare Premiums Increase?

At What Income Limits Do My Medicare Premiums Increase?

Medicare premiums are based on your income from 2 years prior as reported on your federal tax return. If your income exceeds certain thresholds, you’ll pay an extra income-related monthly adjustment amount (IRMAA) in addition to your standard Medicare premiums. This comprehensive guide examines how Medicare uses your tax return, at what income levels premiums increase, and what to do if your income changes.

How Medicare Calculates Your Income-Based Premiums

Medicare determines whether you’ll pay higher premiums based on your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) from your tax return filed two years ago. For 2023 premiums, Medicare reviews your 2021 return filed in 2022 to check your income.

Your MAGI includes your adjusted gross income (AGI) plus any tax-exempt interest income you received. If you file taxes jointly, Medicare reviews your combined MAGI with your spouse.

The income thresholds where IRMAA premiums start are higher for married couples filing jointly than for individuals. Medicare reviews your most recent tax return information on file to calculate income-based premium adjustments.

If your income has decreased a lot since the tax return used for your premiums, you can appeal by providing documentation to prove reduced current income. This can potentially lower your Medicare coverage premiums going forward.

Medicare Part B and Part D Premium Surcharges for Higher Incomes in 2023

Most people pay the standard Medicare Part B monthly premium, which will be $164.90 per month in 2023. But if your income exceeds $97,000 as an individual or $194,000 as a married couple, you’ll pay a higher premium as follows.

  • $238.10 per month for individual income of $97,001-$123,000
  • $340.20 per month for individual income of $123,001-$160,000
  • $442.30 per month for individual income of $160,001-$500,000
  • $544.40 per month for individual income above $500,000

The IRMAA brackets for couples filing jointly are about double the individual amounts. You may also pay an extra $12.20 to $77.90 per month for Part D prescription drug coverage depending on where your income falls.

So while most enrollees pay standard premiums, higher earners pay larger amounts based on their income as reported on their tax return from two years prior.

Why Medicare Uses Your Prior Year Tax Returns

Medicare’s use of your previous tax return income to calculate current year IRMAA premiums raises fair questions. Here are some of the reasons for this system:

  • Provides verifiable income data based on IRS records rather than self-reporting
  • Delivers consistent measurement of income across all Medicare beneficiaries
  • Allows time for Medicare to process returns and notify members of higher premiums
  • Accounts for income drops gradually rather than lowering costs immediately
  • Get social security data

While imperfect, past tax return income gives Medicare a reliable data source to determine each enrollee’s premium costs based on their unique financial situation.

What to Do If Your Income Declines After Your Tax Filing

Higher Medicare premiums are frustrating if your income has decreas


ed substantially since the tax return used to determine your costs. If this applies to you, you can request a reassessment from Medicare.

You’ll need to provide clear documentation like recent pay stubs, investment account statements showing losses, or other proof that your current income is lower. If Medicare verifies reduced income, your premiums can be lowered going forward.

However, be aware Medicare reviews take time. You’ll need to continue paying the higher IRMAA premiums while your appeal is processed. But if approved, you can potentially save money on your ongoing Medicare costs.

Key Takeaways on Medicare Premiums Based on Income

  • Medicare bases premiums on your tax return income from 2 years prior
  • Income over set limits results in IRMAA surcharges for Part B premium and Part D plan premium. You’ll pay a higher amount for medicare part b if you income increases
  • Most people pay standard premiums, but higher earners pay more based on MAGI
  • You can appeal premiums if your income has dropped substantially
  • Understand how past tax return income affects your Medicare costs

I’m Here to Help

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Medicare income limits for 2023?

 Medicare income limits in 2023 are $97,000 for individuals and $194,000 for married couples. Higher income means higher Part B and D premiums.

 How does my income affect my Medicare premiums?

If your income is above Medicare’s limits, you’ll pay an income-related monthly adjustment amount (IRMAA) surcharge in addition to standard premiums.

What is the standard Medicare Part B premium for 2023? 

The standard Medicare Part B premium is $164.90 per month in 2023 for most beneficiaries. Higher earners pay more.

 How is the income-related monthly adjustment amount calculated?

 IRMAA is based on your total adjusted gross income reported on your 2021 IRS tax return filed in 2022.

 What are Medicare Savings Programs?

 These programs through Medicaid help limited income seniors pay for Part B and/or Part D premiums, deductibles, and co-pays.

What income will require me to pay higher Part D premiums? 

 If your income exceeds $97,000 as an individual or $194,000 as a couple, you’ll pay more for a Medicare Part D plan.

 When do the income limits change? 

Medicare income limits normally change year to year. Your 2023 premiums are based on 2021 income limits.

What if my income has gone down since I filed my taxes?

You can contact Medicare to request a reassessment if your income has decreased compared to your 2021 tax return.

Can I switch to a Medicare Advantage Plan to reduce costs?

 Yes, Medicare Advantage plans may offer lower premiums and out-of-pocket costs, providing an alternative to higher Original Medicare expenses.

Where can I find Medicare income limits?

You can view the most up-to-date Medicare income limits at or contact Medicare directly.


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