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Author: thomasr0 One star, 50 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 121095  
Subject: Medicare Part B Means Testing Date: 1/6/2011 2:32 AM
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AARP recently published a summary of Medicare Part B Premiums that Baby Boomers will begin paying beginning in 2011. There will be 3 "standard" premiums paid in 2011. Those already on Medicare and paying the $96.40 per month since 2009 will continue paying that monthly fee because those fees are frozen due to no CPI increase in 2009 & 2010. Those who started paying Part B in 2010 will pay $110.50 per month because there was a second year of no CPI increases in 2010. However, baby boomers starting to pay Medicare Part B premiums in 2011 will pay $115.40 per month for Medicare Part B. My twin brother & sister were born in November, 1944 and so they are paying Part B premiums of $96.40. However since I was born in August 1946, I will be paying 20% higher monthly premiums of $115.40 in 2011.

But there is another change apparently happening in 2011 that institutes "means testing" in determining Medicare Part B monthly premiums. If my taxable income is more than $85,000 as a single taxpayer or $170,000 filing jointly, I begin paying even higher Part B premiums of $161.50/mo up to a maximum of $369.10/mo. There is a means-testing surcharge for Part D drug coverage too that likewise increases between $12 and $69.10 per month beyond the $85,000 (single) & $170,000 (joint) taxable income limits.

My single adjusted gross income (line 37) is in the high $70's. I am hoping the "taxable income" Medicare is using for its "means testing" is the (line 43) taxable income level which for me is in the high $60's. I would like to know for sure which one Medicare is using if I am going to make any large capital gains that push me over the $85K means-testing, taxable-income limit. Has anyone else been looking into this issue? I am assuming that the $85/170K "taxable income" number would not include muni-bond interest. Will Medicare be adjusting the Part B & Part D monthly premiums each year? If your income varies up and down, year-to-year through these means-testing limits and you are paying Medicare premiums based on the previous year's "taxable" income, this could get complicated.

Tom
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