By Yvonne Marsh, CFP®, CPA

Medicare is tricky – it’s an alphabet soup of “Parts” and “Plans” that each have their own costs, and the total monthly premiums quickly add up. Here are two ways to make sure you’re not overpaying.

First, many people don’t realize that your Part B premium cost is based on the tax return you filed two years ago. So for 2021, the government is looking at your 2019 return. While the base monthly cost is $148.50 in 2021, if you made more than $176k as a joint filer ($88k single), they’re going to hit you with a surcharge, called IRMAA (Income Related Medicare Adjustment Amount). IRMAAs range from an extra $59 to $356 per month for Part B and $12 to $77 per month for Part D.

Let’s say you retire and start Medicare in 2021, so they’re looking at your 2019 tax return to determine your Part B premium – when you were making a lot more money than you are now, being retired. It doesn’t seem fair that you should have to pay that extra surcharge, right? Right. And there’s a form for that… Form SSA-44, where you can request a waiver of that IRMAA surcharge and not have to pay it!

In fact, if you’ve had income decrease for lots of life-changing events – divorce, death of a spouse, work reduction, etc. – you can use the same form to apply for an IRMAA waiver. Technically, it doesn’t apply if you have a large capital gain in a year that does not repeat in future years, but I’ve had two clients apply for the IRMAA waiver under that circumstance and been approved, so it’s definitely worth a try.

Second, you can shop your Medicare Supplement policy for the cheapest price all year round – not just during open enrollment in the fall. All Med Supp plans offer the same benefits by Plan letter, so you’re literally searching for the cheapest price. Our in-house Medicare expert, Rick Austin, has a free quoting tool that looks across all companies to find your best price, if you need help.

Want to learn more Medicare tips and tricks? Join myself and Rick Austin on a Zoom call on May 12th at 10:30 am where we’ll share our Medicare insights and have time for Q&A as well. RSVP to and she’ll send you the link to register. See you then!

Marsh Wealth Management, LLC
Fiduciary Registered Investment Advisor
504 Ebenezer Road
Knoxville, TN 37923

Financial Planning & Investment Advisory Services are offered through Marsh Wealth Management, LLC (“MWM”), an independent investment advisor registered with the state of Tennessee. Yvonne Marsh is an Investment Advisor Representative of MWM in the state of Tennessee. Marsh Professional Group, LLC is a TN registered public accounting firm and a separate legal entity from MWM. For a detailed discussion of MWM and their investment advisory fees, see the firm’s Form ADV on file with the SEC at