If you're affluent and getting Medicare, there’s a big problem looming that could affect your premiums.

Let’s say that you followed the advice of all of those financial experts who said you had to save every dime you could because retirement is looming. Or you did really well in life and now have a hefty investment account on top of your Social Security payments. If that was you and you’re now a Medicare recipient, you may have to pay a lot more very soon.

That’s because Congress thinks that the top 5% of Medicare recipients – the more affluent folks – should pay more. Leaving the politics out of it, here’s how it works. If you’re single and have income above $85,000 – or married and make more than $170,000 – you're already paying “surcharges.” The amount depends on your income, but the combined surcharges on your Part B and D premiums range from $737 to $4,090 per person each year. That’s on top of the base premium of $1,462. (See also: The High Net Worth Guide to Medicare).

If those numbers send a financial chill down your spine, brace yourself for 2018. Some higher income earners will pay 30% more in 2018. For example, a single person earning $133,500 to $160,000 will see premiums rise from $2,856 to $3,720 according to the Wall Street Journal, citing a Kaiser Family Foundation report.

The other problem is that the thresholds aren’t adjusted for inflation so each year, more people have to pay the surcharges.

Can You Avoid It?

Since the surcharges are based on your modified adjusted gross income, you have options. Interestingly, by saving a mere one dollar, you can cut your surcharges in half or more. For example, in 2017, if a single person earns $107,000, their Part B surcharge is $584. If they earn $107,001, it jumps up to $1,462.

With that in mind, talk to a tax professional or financial planner about your charitable giving, how you take distributions from your IRA, capital gains and losses, or one of the many other ways to shelter your income. When it comes to Medicare, it’s never been more important to keep a watchful eye on your income. When was the last time $1 mattered this much to your wallet?

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