Kiplinger Today

Ask Kim

Pay Less for Medicare Part B

Kimberly Lankford

You might be able to lower your premiums if your income has dropped because of a "life-changing event."

My wife and I pay a high-income surcharge for our Medicare Part B premiums based on our income from more than a year ago. But we’ve since retired, and our combined incomes are now less than $30,000. Can we get these premiums reduced?

Yes. The high-income surcharge for Medicare Part B is based on your last tax return on record. So if your adjusted gross income was more than $170,000 on a joint return in 2008 (or more than $85,000 if single), you and your spouse may both have to pay $154.70 (or more) per month for Medicare Part B in 2010. See What’s in Store for Medicare Part B Premiums for details.

But you can get your premiums reduced if your income has dropped since then because of a “life-changing event.” That includes marriage, divorce, job loss or reduced work hours (including retirement), loss of income from income-producing property or cuts in pension benefits. Because your joint income is now $30,000, you should each end up paying the standard $96.40 per month.

Fill out the Medicare Part B Income-Related Premium – Life Changing Event form. You’ll need to estimate your income for the year and provide evidence of the change, which could include a statement from your former employer verifying that you’ve retired.

Got a question? E-mail me at

Got a question? Ask Kim at

Editor's Picks From Kiplinger


Permission to post your comment is assumed when you submit it. The name you provide will be used to identify your post, and NOT your e-mail address. We reserve the right to excerpt or edit any posted comments for clarity, appropriateness, civility, and relevance to the topic.
View our full privacy policy


Market Update