Can my employer pay my Medicare premiums?

Jacqueline – California: I will turn 65 soon. I have received news from Medicare that I will have to pay its IRMAA high-income surcharges. My company only has six employees, and I have been told that my Medicare premiums will be paid by the company. Can I make them pay for the high-income surcharges as well? Is it customary to make them pay?

Phil Moeller: I do not believe you have any legal right to force them to pay IRMAA surcharges. In fact, they have no legal requirement to help pay for any Medicare premiums. I am assuming they do so because they value you as an employee and want to keep you happy. The question with IRMAA surcharges is how far your company is willing to go to keep you happy.

Karen – New York: I am working full-time, and my husband is retired. I am 75 years old. The medical plan my company offers is pathetic and inadequate for our needs. Therefore, we are both on Medicare. Can my employer pay, in lieu of paying for the company plan, our Medicare part B charges? If I am entitled as a full-time employee to medical benefits, why can’t my company pay the cost?

Phil Moeller: If you work for a company with more than 20 employees, it is legally barred from helping to pay for Medicare. If your employer is sympathetic, I suppose it’s possible it could give you a raise to help pay for Medicare. If not, and if the employer permits it, perhaps you’d be better off just dropping the employer plan. I’m sorry I don’t have better news for you.