Tag Archives: Medicare

Q 1 2018 Newsletter Video Audio Podcast Review By John Kvale

Welcome to our Video and Audio Podcast Review of our Q 1 2018 Newsletter. For those on the road or just unable to grab the time to read, our podcast type review gives you the behind the scenes insight to our thoughts, observations and deep views of the entire Newsletter.

Click here for direct link to an electronic version (an early peek-good ole fashion paper versions are on their way to you shortly) and here for our Newsletter page

Let’s get going!


Q 1 2018 Newsletter


Medicare – IRMAA – Means testing

In this long overdue article we dig deep into the background of Medicare and the means testing of recent years. IRMAA, Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount – AKA higher premiums thresh holds are analyzed and presented for 2018.

In the best part of this article we discuss what to do in order to lower your higher means testing Medicare Premiums.

Have We Already Had a Bear Market?

A Bear Market is generally defined as a drop of 20% or greater. In late 2015 – 2016 almost every asset category except the most popular dropped by 20%. In this article we discuss why this may be good news for the future of the current market.

VIX – A Fear Gauge Goes to Sleep

VIX a volatility (fear measure) rises when fear is rampant and slowly drifts lower when fear is absent. Over the last 26 years the VIX index has closed below 10 a total of 9 times. In 2017 this fear index closed below this level 52 times. We warn not to take these placid seas for granted.

First Time Personal Reflections

In this off the cuff article, we give thanks for all the wonderful things we have, what good things have come during the year and a general Thanks To All of YOU our clients and friends.


Ready or not … 2018 here we come!

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

Founder of J.K. Financial, Inc.
A Dallas Texas based fee only
Financial Planning Total Wealth
Management firm.

IRMAA Letter, Worse than a “Dear John”, but WE have Solutions!

Last week we discussed the coming big article in our Q1 2018 Newsletter concerning the new Medicare Tiers and Means Testing. In that article we discuss the income levels that will trigger higher premiums.

If you have been targeted of higher means, you will receive an IRMAA letter! You have been IRMAATized

IRMAA Letter

Short for Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount –

Definition – You have been Mean’s Tested and the Social Security Administration (SSA) is asking you to pay more for Medicare Premiums.


The SSA is likely looking at your income from two years ago.

Good News- There is a solution if this is an unusual income amount or you have had a life changing event. This SSA Form 44 from the SSA is what you will need.

Life Changing Events According to SSA:

  • Marriage
  • Divorce/Annulment
  • Death of Your Spouse
  • Work Stoppage
  • Work Reduction
  • Loss of Income-Producing Property
  • Loss of Pension Income
  • Employer Settlement Payment

There are literally check boxes with these subjects in it. Of course life has curve balls that may not allow you to “Check the Box” … We have had continued success with folks going to the SSA office and presenting their case directly to the agent.

We would suggest the timely but productive visit if there is anything out of the ordinary with your proving of “Life Changing Event”!

Bring Proof

“ I understand that signing this form does not constitute a request for SSA to use a more recent tax year information unless it is accompanied by:

  • Evidence that I have had the life-changing event indicated on this form;
  • A copy of my Federal tax return; or
  • Other evidence of the more recent tax year’s modified adjusted gross income”

This information is stated just before a signature section on the SSA Form. Heed the warning and bring whatever proof in order to speed processing.

There you have it … many more options to correct the situation than a “Dear John” letter!

Have a Great “Non IRMAATized” Day!

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

Founder of J.K. Financial, Inc.
A Dallas Texas based fee only
Financial Planning Total Wealth
Management firm.

Medicare Part B Means Testing New Thresholds/ Surcharges for 2018

In our coming Q1 Newsletter we have a terrific detailed review of the background of Medicare, the newer means testing and what to expect in 2018.

In timely fashion, thanks to the nice work of a noted studious professional in our industry, Michael Kitces … the following chart shows the income thresholds and surcharges to take effect in 2018.



These resource thresholds have been lowered dramatically, scooping in more families than in past years. Again, full discussion coming in our Q1 Newsletter.

If you are on Medicare, take a moment to scan these numbers, it worth our time!

Bottom line, a higher income year for a joint couple could result in a $503 (A means surcharge of $369) monthly Part B premium EACH … eeek !

We will discuss planning ideas to help alleviate this and also what to do if you incorrectly may have been targeted for this type of surcharge premium!

All about timing and control of income!

Have a great “Medicare Controlled Surcharge” Day!

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

Founder of J.K. Financial, Inc.
A Dallas Texas based fee only
Financial Planning Total Wealth
Management firm.

Tax Talk – Newsletter Medicare Article Preview – ITF Orange Bowl Tennis!

So we had a pretty busy week of tax talk.

As mentioned in our posts this week as we near the end of the year, we focused heavily on taxes because the path is short for our April of next year settle up of 2017 taxes.

Expect more tax time, reminders, and tax planning posts as we finish 2017 out. We are still held hostage by the possible changes of tax system, but we have hope since Congress is out of session in a week or so, we will have a plan that we can begin scrutinizing.

In all likelihood any plan will likely begin at the earliest in January of next year making this year end tax planning the same as the last few years.

Medicare preview Article

We are beginning our Q1 2018 Newsletter and will have a detailed Medicare article as it relates to income limitations and the premium adjustments along with super neat ideas to help you save money. We hope you will find it very interesting as we have had continuous questions and confusion over the last several years. We plan on bringing a few small condensed nuggets of information over the next few weeks as we close out the year since Medicare costs and reform, relate to our tax planning for next year.

ITF Orange Bowl TournamentOrange Bowl Logo

Sophia has been accepted to  her first ITF (International Tennis Federation) Orange Bowl tennis Tournament which starts play on Sunday. In true Pro format, one loss and you are outta there!

This will leave me out of town the first couple days of next week at least … hopefully longer. Fingers crossed and thank goodness for our best friend “Technology” !

Have a Great Friday!

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

Founder of J.K. Financial, Inc.
A Dallas Texas based fee only
Financial Planning Total Wealth
Management firm.


Medicare Drug Plans and Healthcare costs – Still on the Road – Bday Boy

While not experts in the Medicare world, we are very familiar, and the costs associated with paying for healthcare can greatly affect a financial plan.

Over the weekend a good Dallas Texas based Medicare article concerning open enrollment from our friends at the Dallas, Morning News:

…Medicare’s website — http://www.medicare.gov — has the best tool for helping you narrow your search for a new health or drug plan. Just click on “Review your health and prescription coverage options.” You’ll then be able to compare your coverage and out-of-pocket costs under different plans…..

Providers for those in the Dallas area:


the reason we watch these costs closely:


Kaiser Infation of healthcare cost

Still on the road !

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Donald “The Brain”Brain

Have a great day!

John A. Kvale

8222 Douglas Ave # 590
Dallas, TX 75225


That’s a Wrap … After Fourteen Weeks, Social Security and Medicare Review Complete

My how time flies when you are having fun. Just after the Client Social Security and Medicare event was complete, happily we confirmed the audio did record.

The wish was to bring concise targeted ideas on each subject.

We were successful as there were a total of fourteen ideas that surfaced, seven from both Social Security and Medicare!

Favorite Social Security Finding

My personal favorite was the let it ride technique, but each post helped my knowledge about the possibilities and the endless multiple scenario options.

Best Medicare Finding

In listening to the audio over and over in order to cut it from fire hydrant to gushing garden hose, I was most pleasantly surprised on the very specific web directives on the Medicare Parts.

Social Security and Medicare

Must have been the speed of the event (Tom talks fast), I did not even remember the secret web sites mentioned during the actual event.

Tom  … Thanks so much, we look forward to having you again and thanks for the offer for help on specific complicated cases in the future, we will take you up on it!

Have a great Day!

John A. Kvale CFA CFP

PS: The Audio will remain for some time here for Social and here for Medicare
PSS: As promised in the most recent Newsletter, our NEXT newsletter will include a Social/Medicare review as well
8222 Douglas Ave # 590
Dallas, TX 75225  

Medicare Part D: Prescription Drug, From our Client Roundtable Event

In our series from our Private Client Roundtable event earlier this year, Mr. Tom Clark gives us the details on another part of Medicare, today we continue with the final Medicare alphabet soup:

Medicare Part D

Click here for Audio

Medicare Part D: Prescription Drugs

Two groups who DO NOT need Medicare Part D:Medicare Part D

  • Folks with Employer retirees coverage (Medicare subsidizes, employer wants Part D payments, careful with choices, AUDIO EXPLAINS well)
  • Medicare managed care plans (almost all include Part D, no need to duplicate)

If you do not fall into either of these groups, you have 36 options in the state of Texas.  Once again, YIKES!

Another Important tool for Picking the correct plan

With 36 options, finding the best Medicare Part D plan is best done using the Medicare.gov site we reviewed earlier, this time in a different area of the site:.

  • Go to www.medicare.gov
  • Click on “Drug Coverage Part D” drop down tab (direct link here)
  • Click on the “Find health and drug plans” tab
  • Enter your information and this handy tool will assist in picking the best plan for your situation
  • Especially helpful if you are a child of an elderly parent who helps make these decisions (great example in the audio)

We give the directions as these direct links often change.

Annual open enrollment is Mid October through the end of each fiscal year.

 Thanks Tom,  once again, we appreciate it …. Wow what a lot of information !

Have a Great Day!

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

8222 Douglas Ave # 590
Dallas, TX 75225