Medicare, Gambling and AGI (Adjusted Gross Income)

January 8, 2009 by A.B. Dada  
Filed under Featured

I was talking to some friends who are regulars in Las Vegas that I see whenever I am out there.  They’re older than me, just well enough into their years that they qualify, and accept, Medicare for their basic health care needs.  I had told them about my 2007 frustration with winning too many jackpots over $1000 (at which point you get issued an IRS form W2G), and how difficult it can be to itemize losses to offset wins.

I guess I have the easier end of the bargain.  For those on Medicare, it seems (through casual research) that Medicare now sets your premium based on your AGI, and not on your taxable income.  Taxable income is income that is left over after you itemize expenses.  Medicare’s premium, though, is based on your gross income before itemization.

This means that if you’re elderly, with a fixed income, and you hit a relatively big win in a casino, you could end up paying significantly more on your Medicare premium, even though the gaming win could be (and likely will be) a one-time occurrence.

Another reason for those who think they can rely on the government dole to reconsider.  I’m completely shocked that this modification would have been made with no big news in the Old Media.  Check out a casino sometime and see who is there — you’d be hard pressed to find more younger people than older people, so this process to calculate premiums is definitely against the elderly.

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