Posts Tagged ‘Medicare Part B’

Releases from RRB: Q&A about the effect of private rail pensions; Medicare Part B premiums for 2021

Private rail pensions may reduce supplemental annuities

Railroad Retirement beneficiaries are reminded that receipt of a private railroad pension may reduce the amount of a supplemental annuity payable by the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB). The following questions and answers provide information on this subject and how 401(k) plans are affected by the Railroad Retirement Act (RRA).

1. What are the eligibility requirements for a supplemental annuity?

Monthly supplemental annuities are payable to employee annuitants with 25 or more years of rail service, a “current connection” with the railroad industry, and at least one month of creditable rail service before October 1981. Individuals with 30 years or more of rail service may begin receiving a supplemental annuity at age 60, whereas individuals with 25-29 years of service may do so at age 65. (Disabled annuitants under full retirement age, which is gradually rising to age 67 for those born in 1960 or later, must relinquish employment rights in order for a supplemental annuity to be paid by the RRB.) Monthly supplemental annuity rates vary based on an annuitant’s years of rail service. The maximum monthly supplemental annuity rate is $43.

2. How does the receipt of a private railroad pension affect payment of a supplemental annuity?

If a retired employee also receives a private pension funded entirely, or in part, by a railroad employer, the supplemental annuity is permanently reduced by the amount of the monthly pension that is based on the railroad employer’s contributions. However, if the employer reduces the pension for the employee’s entitlement to a supplemental annuity, the amount by which the pension is reduced is restored to the supplemental annuity (but does not raise it over the $43 maximum). There is no reduction for a pension paid by a railroad labor organization.

3. What if an employee elects to receive the pension in a lump-sum payment instead of as a monthly benefit?

If a retired employee elects to receive his or her pension in a lump-sum payment instead of as a monthly benefit, the supplemental annuity is reduced in the same way as it would be if the employee was receiving the monthly benefit. (If the lump sum is paid in installments, the installment payments are not considered monthly benefit payments, but part of the single lump-sum payment.)

4. Does the receipt of a 401(k) plan distribution reduce the amount of a supplemental annuity?

No. In Legal Opinion L-2014-2, issued January 13, 2014, the RRB’s general counsel determined that 401(k) plans should not be considered supplemental pension plans as defined by the Railroad Retirement Act and, therefore, employee supplemental annuities should not be reduced due to the receipt of 401(k) distributions.

5. Are employee contributions to a 401(k) plan subject to Railroad Retirement Tier I and Tier II payroll taxes?

Yes. Federal budget legislation enacted in 1989 and effective January 1, 1990, provided that employee contributions to 401(k) plans are subject to Railroad Retirement payroll taxes and brought the treatment of 401(k) plans under Railroad Retirement law into conformity with the treatment of such plans under Social Security law. Consequently, employee contributions to a 401(k) plan are also treated as creditable compensation for Railroad Retirement benefit purposes. (For example, an employee earning $40,000 a year, but who has 10% of his earnings deferred under a 401(k) plan, would have only $36,000 reported to the IRS as earnings subject to federal income tax. However, the entire $40,000 would be subject to Railroad Retirement payroll taxes and therefore creditable as compensation under the Railroad Retirement Act.)

6. How can a person get more information about how private rail pensions and 401(k) plan payments affect supplemental annuities?

More information is available on RRB.gov or by contacting an RRB field office. It is important to know that while nearly all of the RRB’s 53 field offices are physically closed to the public until further notice because of the COVID-19 outbreak, they remain accessible by email and phone. Customers are encouraged to send a secure email to their local office by accessing the Field Office Locator and clicking on the link at the bottom of their local office’s page. Customers who prefer talking to an RRB employee can call the agency’s toll-free number (1-877-772-5772); however, they may experience lengthy wait times due to increased call volume caused by COVID-19 related issues.


Medicare Part B premiums for 2021

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that the standard monthly Part B premium will be $148.50 in 2021, an increase of $3.90 from $144.60 in 2020. Some Medicare beneficiaries will pay less than this amount because, by law, Part B premiums for current enrollees cannot increase by more than the amount of the cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security (Railroad Retirement Tier I) benefits.

Since the cost-of-living adjustment is 1.3% in 2021, some Medicare beneficiaries will see an increase in their Part B premiums but still pay less than $148.50. The standard premium amount will also apply to new enrollees in the program. However, certain beneficiaries will continue to pay higher premiums based on their modified adjusted gross income.

The monthly Part B premiums that include income-related adjustments for 2021 will range from $207.90 to $504.90, depending on the extent to which an individual beneficiary’s modified adjusted gross income exceeds $88,000 (or $176,000 for a married couple). The highest rate applies to beneficiaries whose incomes exceed $500,000 (or $750,000 for a married couple). CMS estimates that about 7% of Medicare beneficiaries pay the larger income-adjusted premiums.

Beneficiaries in Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage plans pay premiums that vary from plan to plan. Part D beneficiaries whose modified adjusted gross income exceeds the same income thresholds that apply to Part B premiums also pay a monthly adjustment amount. In 2021, the adjustment amount ranges from $12.30 to $77.10.

The Railroad Retirement Board withholds Part B premiums, Part B income-related adjustments and Part D income-related adjustments from benefit payments it processes. The agency can also withhold Part C and D premiums from benefit payments if an individual submits a request to his or her Part C or D insurance plan.

The following tables show the income-related Part B premium adjustments for 2021. The Social Security Administration (SSA) is responsible for all income-related monthly adjustment amount determinations. To make the determinations, SSA uses the most recent tax return information available from the Internal Revenue Service. For 2021, that will usually be the beneficiary’s 2019 tax return information. If that information is not available, SSA will use information from the 2018 tax return.

Railroad Retirement and Social Security Medicare beneficiaries affected by the 2021 Part B and D income-related premiums will receive a notice from SSA by the end of the year. The notice will include an explanation of the circumstances when a beneficiary may request a new determination. Persons who have questions or would like to request a new determination should contact SSA after receiving their notice.

Additional information about Medicare coverage, including specific benefits and deductibles, can be found at www.medicare.gov.

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2021 PART B PREMIUMS

Beneficiaries who file an individual tax return with income:Beneficiaries who file a joint tax return with income:Income-related monthly adjustment amountTotal monthly Part B premium amount
Less than or equal to $88,000Less than or equal to $176,000$0.00$148.50
Greater than $88,000 and less than or equal to $111,000Greater than $176,000 and less than or equal to $222,000$59.40$207.90
Greater than $111,000 and less than or equal to $138,000Greater than $222,000 and less than or equal to $276,000$148.50$297.00
Greater than $138,000 and less than or equal to $165,000Greater than $276,000 and less than or equal to $330,000$237.60$386.10
Greater than $165,000 and less than or equal to $500,000Greater than $330,000 and less than or equal to $750,000$326.70$475.20
$500,000 and above$750,000 and above$356.40$504.90

The monthly premium rates paid by beneficiaries who are married, but file a separate return from their spouses and who lived with their spouses at some time during the taxable year, are different. Those rates are as follows:

Beneficiaries who are married, but file a separate tax return, with income:Income-related monthly adjustment amountTotal monthly Part B premium amount
Less than or equal to $88,000$0.00$148.50
Greater than $88,000 and less than or equal to $412,000$326.70$475.20
$412,000 and above$356.40$504.90

RRB releases Medicare Part B premiums for 2019

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has announced that the standard monthly Part B premium will be $135.50 in 2019, a slight increase from $134.00 in 2018. However, some Medicare beneficiaries will pay slightly less than this amount. By law, Part B premiums for current enrollees cannot increase by more than the amount of the cost-of-living adjustment for social security (railroad retirement tier I) benefits.

Since that adjustment is 2.8 percent in 2019, about 2 million Medicare beneficiaries will see an increase in their Part B premiums but still pay less than $135.50. The standard premium amount will also apply to new enrollees in the program, and certain beneficiaries will continue to pay higher premiums based on their modified adjusted gross income.

The monthly premiums that include income-related adjustments for 2019 will range from $189.60 up to $460.50, depending on the extent to which an individual beneficiary’s modified adjusted gross income exceeds $85,000 (or $170,000 for a married couple). The highest rate applies to beneficiaries whose incomes exceed $500,000 (or $750,000 for a married couple). The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services estimates that about 5 percent of Medicare beneficiaries pay the larger income-adjusted premiums.

Beneficiaries in Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage plans pay premiums that vary from plan to plan. Part D beneficiaries whose modified adjusted gross income exceeds the same income thresholds that apply to Part B premiums also pay a monthly adjustment amount. In 2019, the adjustment amount ranges from $12.40 to $77.40.

The Railroad Retirement Board withholds Part B premiums from benefit payments it processes. The agency can also withhold Part C and D premiums from benefit payments if an individual submits a request to his or her Part C or D insurance plan.

The following tables show the income-related Part B premium adjustments for 2019. The Social Security Administration (SSA) is responsible for all income-related monthly adjustment amount determinations. To make the determinations, SSA uses the most recent tax return information available from the Internal Revenue Service. For 2019, that will usually be the beneficiary’s 2017 tax return information. If that information is not available, SSA will use information from the 2016 tax return.

Those railroad retirement and social security Medicare beneficiaries affected by the 2019 Part B and D income-related premiums will receive a notice from SSA by the end of the year. The notice will include an explanation of the circumstances where a beneficiary may request a new determination. Persons who have questions or would like to request a new determination should contact SSA after receiving their notice.

Additional information about Medicare coverage, including specific benefits and deductibles, can be found at www.medicare.gov.

2019 PART B PREMIUMS 

Beneficiaries who file an individual tax return with income:

Beneficiaries who file a joint tax return with income:

Income-related monthly adjustment amount

Total monthly Part B premium amount

 

Less than or equal to $85,000 

Less than or equal to $170,000

$0.00

$135.50

Greater than $85,000 and less than or equal to $107,000 

Greater than $170,000 and less than or equal to $214,000

$54.10

$189.60

Greater than $107,000 and less than or equal to $133,500 

Greater than $214,000 and less than or equal to $267,000

$135.40

$270.90

Greater than $133,500 and less than or equal to $160,000

Greater than $267,000 and less than or equal to $320,000

$216.70

$352.20

Greater than $160,000 and less than $500,000

Greater than $320,000 and less than $750,000

$297.90

$433.40

$500,000 and above

$750,000 and above

$325.00

$460.50

 

The monthly premium rates paid by beneficiaries who are married, but file a separate return from their spouses and who lived with their spouses at some time during the taxable year, are different.  Those rates are as follows:

 

Beneficiaries who are married, but file a separate tax return, with income:

Income-related monthly adjustment amount

Total monthly Part B premium amount

Less than or equal to $85,000

$0.00

$135.50

Greater than $85,000 and less than $415,000

$297.90

$433.40

$415,000 and above

$325.00

$460.50

 

RRB: Medicare Part B premiums for 2017

RRB_sealThe Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has announced that the standard monthly Part B premium will be $134.00 in 2017. However, most Medicare beneficiaries will not pay this amount. By law, Part B premiums for current enrollees cannot increase by more than the amount of the cost-of-living adjustment for social security (railroad retirement tier I) benefits.

Since that adjustment is 0.3 percent in 2017, about 70 percent of Medicare beneficiaries will see only a slight increase in their Part B premiums. The higher premium amount will apply to new enrollees in the program, and certain beneficiaries will continue to pay higher premiums based on their modified adjusted gross income.

The monthly premiums that include income-related adjustments for 2017 will be $187.50; $267.90; $348.30 or $428.60, depending on the extent to which an individual beneficiary’s modified adjusted gross income exceeds $85,000 (or $170,000 for a married couple). The highest rate applies to beneficiaries whose incomes exceed $214,000 (or $428,000 for a married couple). The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services estimates that less than 5 percent of Medicare beneficiaries pay the larger income-adjusted premiums.

Beneficiaries in Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage plans pay premiums that vary from plan to plan. Beginning in 2011, the Affordable Care Act required Part D beneficiaries whose modified adjusted gross income exceeds the same income thresholds that apply to Part B premiums to also pay a monthly adjustment amount. In 2017, the adjustment amount ranges from $13.30 to $76.20.

The Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) withholds Part B premiums from benefit payments it processes. The agency can also withhold Part C and D premiums from benefit payments if an individual submits a request to his or her Part C or D insurance plan.

The following tables show the income-related Part B premium adjustments for 2017. The Social Security Administration (SSA) is responsible for all income-related monthly adjustment amount determinations.  To make the determinations, SSA uses the most recent tax return information available from the Internal Revenue Service. For 2017, that will usually be the beneficiary’s 2015 tax return information. If that information is not available, SSA will use information from the 2014 tax return.

Those railroad retirement and social security Medicare beneficiaries affected by the 2017 Part B and D income-related premiums will receive a notice from SSA by December 2016.  The notice will include an explanation of the circumstances where a beneficiary may request a new determination.  Persons who have questions or would like to request a new determination should contact SSA after receiving their notice.

Additional information about Medicare coverage, including specific benefits and deductibles, can be found at www.medicare.gov

Medicare Part B premium costs for 2016

Palmetto_rgb_webThe Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released the 2016 Part B premium and deductible costs for 2016. Railroad Medicare processes claims for Part B services. 

The 2016 monthly premiums will remain unchanged for approximately 70 percent of Medicare beneficiaries. However, the remaining 30 percent will pay a different amount based on the following criteria:

  • those enrolling for the first time in 2016
  • individuals not receiving Railroad Retirement/Social Security benefits
  • those who are directly billed for their Part B premiums
  • those who have Medicare and Medicaid and Medicaid pays the premiums, or
  • individuals whose modified gross incomes from two years ago is above a certain threshold

For beneficiaries who meet one of those criteria, Part B premiums for 2016 will be based on their annual income in 2014.

Those filing individual tax returns with annual incomes (in 2014) noted here will pay the following in 2016:

  • less than or equal to $85,000 will pay $121.80 in 2016
  • greater than $85,000 and less than or equal to $107,000 will pay $170.50
  • greater than $107,000 and less than or equal to $160,000 will pay $243.60
  • greater than $160,000 and less than or equal to $214,000 will pay $316.70
  • greater than $214,000 will pay $389.80

Those filing joint tax returns with annual incomes (in 2014) noted here will pay the following in 2016:

  • less than or equal to $170,000 will pay $121.80  
  • greater $170,000 and less than or equal to $214,000 will pay $170.50
  • greater than $214,000 and less than or equal to $320,000 will pay $243.60
  • greater than $320,000 and less than or equal to $428,000 will pay $316.70
  • greater than $428,000 will pay $389.80

The rates are slightly different for married beneficiaries who lived with their spouse (at any time during the year) and file separate tax returns. Those filing separate tax returns with annual incomes (in 2014) noted here will pay the following in 2016:

  • Less than or equal to $85,000 will pay $121.80
  • Greater than $85,000 and less than or equal to $129,000 will pay $316.70
  • Greater than $129,000 will pay $389.80.

The Medicare Part B deductible will be increasing from $147 per year in 2015 to $166 per year in 2016. 

If you have questions about your Part B Premium, you can call the Railroad Retirement Board toll free at 877-772-5772 or for the hearing impaired (TTY) call 312-751-4701. General information can also be found at the RRB’s website at www.rrb.gov.

If you have questions about your Railroad Medicare coverage, you can call the Beneficiary Contact Center at 800-833-4455, or for the hearing impaired, call TTY/TDD at 877-566-3572. Customer Service Representatives are available Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. until 7 p.m. ET.

Medicare Part B premiums for 2016

RRB_seal_150pxThe Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has announced that the standard monthly Part B premium will be $121.80 in 2016. However, most Medicare beneficiaries will not see an increase in their monthly Part B premiums because of a “hold harmless” provision in the law. Under that provision, Part B premiums cannot increase for current enrollees if there is no cost-of-living increase in social security benefits.

As a result, those individuals will continue to pay a monthly premium of $104.90, the same amount as in 2015. About 70 percent of Medicare beneficiaries will not see their Part B premiums increase due to this provision. However, the higher premium amount will apply to new enrollees in the program, and certain beneficiaries will continue to pay higher premiums based on their modified adjusted gross income.

The monthly premiums that include income-related adjustments for 2016 will be $170.50, $243.60, $316.70, or $389.80, depending on the extent to which an individual beneficiary’s modified adjusted gross income exceeds $85,000 (or $170,000 for a married couple). The highest rate applies to beneficiaries whose incomes exceed $214,000 (or $428,000 for a married couple). The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services estimates that less than 5 percent of Medicare beneficiaries pay the larger income-adjusted premiums.

Beneficiaries in Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage plans pay premiums that vary from plan to plan. Beginning in 2011, the Affordable Care Act required Part D beneficiaries whose modified adjusted gross income exceeds the same income thresholds that apply to Part B premiums to also pay a monthly adjustment amount. In 2016, the adjustment amount ranges from $12.70 to $72.90.

The Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) withholds Part B premiums from benefit payments it processes. The agency can also withhold Part C and D premiums from benefit payments if an individual submits a request to his or her Part C or D insurance plan.

The following tables (click here) show the income-related Part B premium adjustments for 2016. The Social Security Administration (SSA) is responsible for all income-related monthly adjustment amount determinations. To make the determinations, SSA uses the most recent tax return information available from the Internal Revenue Service. For 2016, that will usually be the beneficiary’s 2014 tax return information. If that information is not available, SSA will use information from the 2013 tax return.

Those railroad retirement and social security Medicare beneficiaries affected by the 2016 Part B and D income-related premiums will receive a notice from SSA by December 2015. The notice will include an explanation of the circumstances where a beneficiary may request a new determination.  Persons who have questions or would like to request a new determination should contact SSA after receiving their notice.

Additional information about Medicare coverage, including specific benefits and deductibles, can be found at www.medicare.gov.

Medicare Part B premiums remain the same in 2015

RRB_seal_150pxThe standard Medicare Part B monthly premium will be $104.90 in 2015, the same amount as in 2014.

Some beneficiaries will continue to pay higher premiums based on their modified adjusted gross income, but these amounts are also remaining the same as in 2014. The monthly premiums that include income-related adjustments for 2015 will be $146.90, $209.80, $272.70, or $335.70, depending on the extent to which an individual beneficiary’s modified adjusted gross income exceeds $85,000 (or $170,000 for a married couple). The highest premium rate applies to beneficiaries whose incomes exceed $214,000 (or $428,000 for a married couple). The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimates that less than five percent of Medicare beneficiaries pay the larger income-adjusted premiums.

Beneficiaries in Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage plans pay premiums that vary from plan to plan. Beginning in 2011, the Affordable Care Act required Part D beneficiaries whose modified adjusted gross income exceeds the same income thresholds that apply to Part B premiums to also pay a monthly adjustment amount. In 2015, the adjustment amount ranges from $12.30 to $70.80.

The Railroad Retirement Board withholds Part B premiums from benefit payments it processes. The agency can also withhold Part C and D premiums from benefit payments if an individual submits a request to his or her Part C or D insurance plan. The RRB will also begin withholding Part D income-related adjustment amounts from benefit payments in January 2015.

The following tables (click here) show the income-related Part B premium adjustments for 2015. The Social Security Administration is responsible for all income-related monthly adjustment amount determinations. To make the determinations, SSA uses the most recent tax return information available from the Internal Revenue Service. For 2015, that will usually be the beneficiary’s 2013 tax return information. If that information is not available, SSA will use information from the 2012 tax return.

Those railroad retirement and social security Medicare beneficiaries affected by the 2015 Part B and D income-related premiums will receive a notice from SSA by December 2014. The notice will include an explanation of the circumstances where a beneficiary may request a new determination. Persons who have questions or would like to request a new determination should contact SSA after receiving their notice.

Additional information about Medicare coverage, including specific benefits and deductibles, can be found at www.medicare.gov.