Is It Time For Quantz and Me To Get Divorced?

The Marriage Penalty Hurts Married People: Is it time for Quantz and me to get divorced?  Karl Bruns-Kyler and The Big 65 Weighs In …

May this note find you in good health with your Medicare coverage working properly.  Today’s topic:  The Marriage Penalty Hurts Married People.

Now don’t worry about my provocative question, Q and I have been happily married for 33 years and besides…

Karl and Quantz and Plato_The Big 65 Medicare Insurance Broker

Plato would never allow this to happen.

Nevertheless, an article from Marketwatch cited a Washington University Law Review article that documented how “federal law punishes older couples for being married.” This is unbelievable but true.

Charles and Phyllis_friends Karl Bruns-Kyler the Medicare insurance advisor

Now I hate to break the news to my dear friends Charles and Phyllis (they just celebrated 45 years of marriage), but older couples who live together but are unmarried pay lower taxes. They actually qualify for more federal benefits.

Of course, there are financial downsides to living together vs being married. If an unmarried partner dies, the survivor cannot get their higher Social Security benefit. However, if one partner of a married couple needs long-term care, they are required to deplete more of their savings before qualifying than two single people living together would need to spend.

Bob and Sue in Hawaii_The Big 65 friends

Clients Bob and Sue just got back from an amazing trip to Hawaii. Bob always tracks their expenses carefully. Can you imagine what would happen if they had to pay higher airline ticket prices because they were married?

Sue in a coffee cup_The Big 65 Medicare Insurance Broker

I guarantee Bob would have Sue drinking her coffee alone on the trip .

Don’t worry, Bob is a standup guy. He would miss Sue and Rudy way too much.

Friends of The Big 65 in Colorado

But you get my point.

This is a fundamental flaw with our system. At the very least, married couples should not be financially penalized. We shouldn’t have to divorce to have the same long-term care spend down and Medicaid requirements.

Back to Medicare…

Your Annual Notice of Changes should be arriving in the mail in the next couple of weeks.

Whether you have a Medicare Advantage Plan or a Part D drug plan, be sure to take a few minutes to go over the changes. Schedule an appointment with me if any of the following apply:

  if you see a significant increase in your medication costs,
  if you have a doctor that is no longer accepting your plan,
  if you are concerned or confused about benefit changes.

If you are in a Medicare Supplement Plan (Medigap) and we haven’t reviewed your premiums in the last eighteen months, it make sense for you to book a time on my calendar here to see if we can reduce the premiums and keep you with the same coverage. Not everyone can change, but it’s almost always worth a look (plus I enjoy catching up).

QR code for The Big 65 Medicare insurance broker

Scan the QR code above or go to The Big 65 to schedule an appointment.

Q and I had a great visit with her cousin Alice and her husband Bruce who came out to visit their daughter.

Qs cousin Alice and husband Bruce_Visiting The Big 65

The last time we saw them was in the mid 90’s and I hope we don’t wait that long to see them again.  Again, I am reminded that the marriage penalty hurts married people.

Back to news from Nepal …. I’m happy to report that my childhood buddy, Steve, achieved his goal and made it to Island Peak, 20,200 feet above sea level. Well done Steve.

Steve climbing Everest_friend of The Big 65

Standing at the 20,000 plus feet and realizing there’s always another challenge ahead (another 9000 feet to the top of Everest), well, you realize there are always bigger challenges. Pick yours carefully.

Steve climbing Mt Everest_Friend of Karl Kyler

Back on dry land …

If you see someone speeding and he looks like the green hornet, it could be my big brother Rob. Many of you know about Robert’s bike wreck four years ago and how that changed his life. Robert has refused to let his injury define him. He continues to practice medicine, to bike, to mentor others, to travel the world, and to live with intensity.

Dr Robert Kyler on a green bike_brother of Karl Bruns-Kyler

Whenever I get whiny or complacent, I think about my big brother and everything he overcomes every single day. Robert hates when I brag about him, but the dude is a bad-ass. I love him and am so proud of him.

Remember not to compare yourself to others.

Be your best self. Help others. Give thanks for what you have.

And when you and your friends have Medicare questions, I’ll be there.

Karl Bruns-Kyler
Medicare Insurance Broker, The Big 65