By Tom Moutes, RLACEI Legislative Director
n September, I wrote about Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amounts (IRMAAs) – the nasty surprise you receive when you reach age 65 and find out you must pay more for your healthcare each month than you did the day before. Currently, these IRMAAs range between $164.90 and $560.50 per month based on your income! Depending on your Medicare eligibility, LACERS will reimburse the smallest monthly amount the feds charge – currently, that’s $164.90. The IRMAA amounts can change every calendar year. Those Retirees who did not pay the FICA tax while working are eligible only for Medicare B and are currently not entitled to any IRMAA reimbursement from LACERS.
Based, in part, on a request by RLACEI, the LACERS staff and Board have been studying the IRMAA reimbursements, including commissioning actuarial reports to determine the potential costs associated with enhanced IRMAA reimbursements. On Sept. 26, 2023, the LACERS Board adopted the following staff recommendation:
That the Board authorize the Board President to sign and transmit a letter, including the actuarial analysis and Member feedback, to the Mayor and Los Angeles City Council for consideration of increasing reimbursements to LACERS Retired Members with Medicare Part B premiums.
The adopted recommendation did not include any specifics regarding enhanced IRMAA reimbursements, such as who should receive them and how much the reimbursements should be increased. Regardless, the issue is now in the hands of the City Council. As of the writing of this article (I have to write them a month in advance), no Council file number has been assigned and no Council committee agenda has included this item.
Please stay informed about IRMAA reimbursements whether you are:
- One of the 1,375 Retirees who have Part B only and, therefore are not currently entitled to any IRMAA reimbursements;
- One of the approximately 1,795 Retirees who are only partially reimbursed for your IRMAA expenses;
- A Retiree whose IRMAA expenses are currently covered, but for whom that may change in the future as the income brackets change almost every year; or
- A future Retiree for whom this issue does not currently impact. Someday it may impact you, and that is increasingly likely as your wages are higher than in most parts of the country, which makes it more likely you will have to pay higher IRMAAs than LACERS currently is authorized to reimburse.
That means every LACERS member – whether still working or Retired – should submit public comments to the City Council! This likely will not be an easy process, and it will take all of us, with RLACEI leading the way, to weigh in on the IRMAA reimbursements. The only way the enhanced IRMAA reimbursements will be adopted is through a very large response by LACERS members. Please do not assume someone else will do this for you – it takes all of us!