Aging Matters: Letís Catch Up

With the start of a new year, everyone wants to know the changes the year will bring, and for those on Social Security benefits and Medicare, there are a few changes. As most Social Security recipients know, 2022 will bring a cost of living adjustment (COLA) of 5.9%. COLA adjustments are based on the Department of Laborís Consumer Price Index. When inflation drives up the cost of goods and services, the Consumer Price Index reflects that, and COLA raises are used to help offset some of those costs. Approximately 70 million Americans will receive this raise, the largest since 1982. You should have received a statement from Social Security showing your benefit amount for 2022. This raise is good news for seniors and others who draw Social Security. The bad news: If you have Medicare, those costs are also going up.

The standard Medicare Part B monthly premium in 2022 will be $170.10, an increase from $148.50 in 2021. The Medicare Part B premium is usually withheld from your Social Security check if you take Social Security or paid directly to Medicare if you are not getting a Social Security check, or if your check does not cover the full amount. Medicare can bill you quarterly, or you can set up payments through your online Medicare account. The deductibles in Medicare are also increasing; Medicareís Part A deductible will go from $1,484 per benefit period to $1,556, and the Part B deductible will be $233, increasing from $203.

If you are a high-income earner, your premiums could be even more than the standard amount. Income-related monthly-adjusted amount (IRMAA) is a surcharge added to Medicare Part B and Part D premiums for those who earned $91,000 or more as a single person or $182,000 for a couple filing jointly. The IRMAA is based on taxes filed two years prior, so the IRMAA assessed in 2022 is based on 2020 taxes. If you have an IRMAA surcharge but your income has decreased, or you have had a life-changing event, you can file an appeal of the surcharge.

For those who are on the lower income range and have limited assets, there could be help paying for your Medicare Part B and D premiums. Medicare Savings Programs (MSP) are designed to help those with an income of $17,628 per year for a single person and $23,760 for a married couple. If you have work income, you may still qualify, as that income is calculated differently. These programs also have asset guidelines. Assets are things like money in checking or savings accounts, stocks, bonds or property you own, not including your home. If you qualify for a MSP, the state will pay your Medicare Part B premium, and that amount will not be held out of your Social Security check. If you would like help filling out an application, please give us a call.

I have great hopes for 2022, and I have faith this will be a good year for all of us. If you need more information about Medicare or would like help with an application, please call Aging Matters at 1 (800) 392-8771. Because Aging Matters.