Ask Toni: Can RMDs Increase Your Medicare Premiums? | lifestyle

Dear Toni,

I am over 73 and started taking my RMDs (required minimum distributions) from my 401(k) when I turned 72. Could this increase my Medicare Part B premium for 2023?

This year my monthly premiums increased to $329.70 for Part B and an extra IRMAA premium of $31.50 for Part D.

I am married and my wife started a new job with a higher salary in 2021. Since we file together, could this have increased my Medicare premiums? She recently got laid off and our joint income has changed drastically. What can I do?

–James from Pearland, Texas


Some Americans believe that everyone pays the same amount for Medicare Parts B and D premiums. Those days are long gone! So yes, definitely taking the RMD at 72 and your wife’s new job could increase your Medicare Part B and D premiums, James.

If your income is more than $97,000 as a single person or more than $194,000 if you are married, your premiums for Medicare Parts B and D will be higher. Social Security explains in the letter they sent you how they arrived at the B and D premium amounts based on your “adjusted gross income” (MAGI) from your most recently filed tax return. (The table included in the letter shows how the Part B and Part D premiums will be adjusted whether you are filing single or married.)

Any increase in your MAGI can increase your Medicare premiums. Medicare bases your premiums on the income of you and your spouse, whether one is of Medicare age or younger. Your RMDs combined with your wife’s increased income increased your Medicare premiums.

Do you want to wait 2 years for the IRS to tell Medicare that your income actually dropped due to a “life changing event”? Or do you want to let Medicare know NOW that your MAGI has decreased?

The 2023 Part B premium of $329.70 and $31.50 for Part D tells me that your combined income in 2021 was between $246,001 and $306,000.

I have good news for you, James: Since your wife is no longer employed and earning a salary as of 2021, you can file an appeal with Social Security to have your Medicare Parts B and D reduced.

A special form, SSA-44, is available at By submitting this “Life Changing Event” form, you can lower your “IRMAA” (Adjusted Monthly Income Amount). Examples of qualifying life-changing events are:

— You got married or divorced

— Your husband died

— You stopped working or your working hours were reduced

— Your spouse stopped working or had reduced working hours

— You or your spouse lost their pension

— You or your spouse have lost income-producing assets

Complete Form SSA-44 and attach original documents or certified copies to verify your change in income. (Chapter 8 of my Medicare Survival Guide Advanced Edition includes Social Security forms for proper Medicare enrollment, such as the CMS-L564, CMS-40B, and SSA-44.)

Once Social Security is satisfied with the evidence, it will update its records and adjust your Part B and Part D premiums based on what your current income is.

If you’d like help learning how to customize your Medicare, you can sign up for my Zoom webinar “Confused About Medicare and Social Security” on Thursday, February 9th from 4-6pm CET. You can find the registration link at

Toni King is an author and columnist on Medicare and health insurance. She has spent more than 27 years as a top sales leader in the industry. For Medicare verification, email: [email protected] or call 832-519-8664. You can now visit to listen to her Medicare Moments podcasts for more information for boomers/seniors.

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