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Old 02-16-2014, 01:24 PM   #21
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With our district, I am sure it had nothing to do with being conscientious or caring. It was a mandatory task and I know we all were made to make a choice and sign off on it. What we didn't get was much information on what the ramifications of our decisions would be. Fortunately, my wife and I looked into it and made the correct (for us) choice. I can easily imagine that there are those who do or will soon regret opting out and will have no memory of the event.
Unless it's buried deep within my memory, I can remember no opportunity to opt in and neither does anyone else I've asked who were hired within that time frame (and all of which are now scrambling to find answers in regard to themselves). Of course anything is possible and perhaps we did miss it. (especially in my case as I sometimes tend not to read everything carefully).

Probably not in this case, but I do know for an absolute fact in some other areas just because the law requires a thing does not make it happen. If the school district does not comply with a law, there is a fine imposed and if the district feels strongly enough about it, they will take the fine. Sometimes in our district, administration tries to honor state law but is pressured by a powerful teacher's union trying to pacify (sometimes only a handful of people.)
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Old 02-16-2014, 01:33 PM   #22
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I can remember no opportunity to opt in and neither does anyone else I've asked who were hired within that time frame (and all of which are now scrambling to find answers in regard to themselves).
Why not ask the school district? I believe they were supposed to offer you the choice and document your answer. You may have caught them having slipped up and you may have some recourse. Or, they may pull your file and show you where you signed a slip saying you chose to opt out and you've forgotten (as I most likely would have ).

You won't know unless you ask.
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Old 02-16-2014, 01:35 PM   #23
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I imagine opting in meant you would start seeing 1.45 percent of your gross salary withheld from your paycheck. People who expected retiree health care to be provided might have believed this extra deduction was unnecessary and thus opted out.
Believe it or not you'd be surprised at the resistance some people put up to having a penny more taken out of their checks regardless of anything. You get kind of spoiled when you are used to not paying anything other than taxes and union dues taken out. In over thirty years, I had never paid a penny for health care, which included dental and eye for my family. Yet I understand that now they are required to pay what I think is a nominal fee and employees are putting up a fuss. Glad to hear that the union is not backing them up this time because they see the need.
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Old 02-16-2014, 01:41 PM   #24
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Unless it's buried deep within my memory, I can remember no opportunity to opt in and neither does anyone else I've asked who were hired within that time frame (and all of which are now scrambling to find answers in regard to themselves). Of course anything is possible and perhaps we did miss it. (especially in my case as I sometimes tend not to read everything carefully).

Probably not in this case, but I do know for an absolute fact in some other areas just because the law requires a thing does not make it happen. If the school district does not comply with a law, there is a fine imposed and if the district feels strongly enough about it, they will take the fine. Sometimes in our district, administration tries to honor state law but is pressured by a powerful teacher's union trying to pacify (sometimes only a handful of people.)

Of course none of us were to verify either way, but maybe you dismissed it because you knew you were eligible through your spouse? I worked with 3 long time district employees whom we all retired the same year though they were a lot older than me. One decided to do PT work some more to get the credits after I talked with him about Medicare ( he could afford it, just to cheap to pay for it). He said he knew nothing about it, so we asked another man who was retiring without it, but knew and remembered the opportunity was indeed given. The third person I recently ran into and she was complaining to me about the insurance going up, and I asked her if she was going on Medicare soon, as she was 64. She said she would have to check into it as she didn't know if she was eligible. So there you have 3 people from same district working their entire careers basically at the same time, and not one of the three agreed with each other on what had been going on! In their defense they probably always had the laid back attitude because they knew they could stay on school plan. Of course it was paid for while being employed, writing the check exposed them to the costs involved!
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Old 02-16-2014, 01:50 PM   #25
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In the case of OP's friend, the expected retiree health care insurance is being provided. The catch is that if OP's friend had Medicare, the premium for the retiree health care would be much lower if Medicare is the primary coverage. This is common. She expected to begin paying the lower, Medicare primary, premium when she turned 65 but found out she doesn't qualify for Medicare, so no premium reduction.

It isn't a matter of being insured. It's an issue of the amount of the premium.
I understand that. I was just thinking when the opt in option was presented way back when, someone might have thought why have 1.45 percent withheld for Medicare when I am going to get retiree health insurance already (and maybe back then the retiree's premium was really cheap or even paid for). I know people who would have opted out without thinking about it, reasoning along those lines.
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Old 02-16-2014, 02:23 PM   #26
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Why not ask the school district? I believe they were supposed to offer you the choice and document your answer. You may have caught them having slipped up and you may have some recourse. Or, they may pull your file and show you where you signed a slip saying you chose to opt out and you've forgotten (as I most likely would have ).

You won't know unless you ask.
Nope. I signed nothing. I'm very familiar with what is in my personnel file as I worked in a position where I had access to my file and could and did look at it at will.

New employees does sign that medicare form.

To make sure, I am going to ask a friend to access my records to make sure I did not overlook it. I am going to ask her to look at my friend's also and go from there.
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Old 02-16-2014, 02:40 PM   #27
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While unfortunate, I do not know how a person could not pay into the system and expect to receive the benefit. Paystubs clearly show deductions.
+1. Or even if a person never examined the pay stub (why not?), don't teachers talk to each other about this stuff? It's just surprising that a person could work all that time and never be exposed to this issue. Union folks, HR reps, district personnel, the other teachers in the lounge or at inservice training: No one ever said "Remember, you won't be covered by Medicare"?

Well, be that as it may, I think she should consider earning the credits through a part-time job, if she is able. It wouldn't take very long.
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Old 02-16-2014, 02:46 PM   #28
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Nope. I signed nothing. I'm very familiar with what is in my personnel file as I worked in a position where I had access to my file and could and did look at it at will.

New employees does sign that medicare form.

To make sure, I am going to ask a friend to access my records to make sure I did not overlook it. I am going to ask her to look at my friend's also and go from there.
Shouldn't your friend do this on her own?
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Old 02-16-2014, 02:47 PM   #29
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Your friend should investigate finishing her SS eligibility. The fact that she has 33 quarters and made no effort to finish up with some sort of minimal employment situation points to the fact that she really was naive about SS and Medicare. What was she thinking?

If she studies the rules for earning SS and Medicare credits, she may be pleasantly surprised at how little time and earnings it takes. If she finishes the required credits, not only will she have lower health insurance costs, she'll get a tiny SS check every month. If she lives to a ripe old age, the reduced HI costs plus the modest monthly SS check could add up to be significant.

She doesn't have to take a full time job to earn the credits.
This lady is very naive on so many levels, especially when it comes to finance. This may make some people mad but I tried to tell her years ago to stop tithing 10% of her salary as she could not afford it. If she had put some of that money into some type of retirement fund for the past 40 years, she be doing well by now and not on the verge of being foreclosed.

You are so right about getting the extra points. I did mention this to her before but not in regard to medicare but in regard to getting the small social security check because she needed more income. I suggested she go back to sub teach but she would not hear of that because her last year was so traumatic. Now she's talking selling Avon. I might be wrong but I don't think there's much money in that.
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Old 02-16-2014, 03:17 PM   #30
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This lady is very naive on so many levels, especially when it comes to finance. This may make some people mad but I tried to tell her years ago to stop tithing 10% of her salary as she could not afford it. If she had put some of that money into some type of retirement fund for the past 40 years, she be doing well by now and not on the verge of being foreclosed.

You are so right about getting the extra points. I did mention this to her before but not in regard to medicare but in regard to getting the small social security check because she needed more income. I suggested she go back to sub teach but she would not hear of that because her last year was so traumatic. Now she's talking selling Avon. I might be wrong but I don't think there's much money in that.
Perhaps she could consider tutoring? Maybe as an employee for a company offering such services. Avon doesn't sound very exciting to me at least.
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Old 02-16-2014, 03:23 PM   #31
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As a Federal employee under the CSRS we started paying into medicare in 1983. This was not a choice. I had to search to find the date as I didn't remember exactly the year.

I have some years under SS although not enough for 40 quarters which could qualify me for a much reduced SS payment. At one point I thought it would be good to work for a bit and earn the last 3 or so credits to qualify. As the retirement years go by the thought of working ever again becomes a very remote possibility. I love being retired!

Good luck to your friend OP. It sounds like she may need to work a bit longer and would benefit from both full medicare coverage and a little bit of SS. It's probably a tough decision to make.
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Old 02-16-2014, 04:21 PM   #32
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The tutoring idea sounds great. Depending on where she lives, she could make pretty good money.
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Old 02-16-2014, 04:55 PM   #33
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This lady is very naive on so many levels, especially when it comes to finance. This may make some people mad but I tried to tell her years ago to stop tithing 10% of her salary as she could not afford it. If she had put some of that money into some type of retirement fund for the past 40 years, she be doing well by now and not on the verge of being foreclosed.

You are so right about getting the extra points. I did mention this to her before but not in regard to medicare but in regard to getting the small social security check because she needed more income. I suggested she go back to sub teach but she would not hear of that because her last year was so traumatic. Now she's talking selling Avon. I might be wrong but I don't think there's much money in that.

I wouldn't get her hopes up much to earn SS income. I imagine since she has a pension excluding SS payment, the WEP will take a nice chunk away from anything she would be expecting to receive. I "earned" enough SS income to be eligible for almost $500 a month when eligible, but after running it through the WEP calculator it was only a little over a hundred bucks a month.
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Old 02-16-2014, 04:59 PM   #34
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The tutoring idea sounds great. Depending on where she lives, she could make pretty good money.
+1

She either needs to work for a company that provides tutoring services and issues her a W2 or have an accountant help her set up her own business so she can pay self-employed SS and Medicare until she has the necessary quarters in.

Sometimes a person who needs just a few quarters SS credit is able to hook up with a business owning friend who provides a bit of employment to get just over the line.......
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Old 02-16-2014, 05:05 PM   #35
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I wouldn't get her hopes up much to earn SS income. I imagine since she has a pension excluding SS payment, the WEP will take a nice chunk away from anything she would be expecting to receive. I "earned" enough SS income to be eligible for almost $500 a month when eligible, but after running it through the WEP calculator it was only a little over a hundred bucks a month.
WEP and GPO alone are enough of a reason that teachers and other state and municipal employees not covered by SS need to demand to be added to the SS system.
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Old 02-16-2014, 07:22 PM   #36
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Shouldn't your friend do this on her own?
Bestwife,

She can contact the system herself but it will be much simpler if I were to do it. She would have to write asking permission to view her file and set up an appt. I would not have to do that.

I did not want to mention it before because I did not want to cloud the issue but she is currently dealing with a fire in her home and had to be relocated to a hotel. That in itself is a nightmare so I'm trying to do what I can.
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Old 02-16-2014, 09:26 PM   #37
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+1. Or even if a person never examined the pay stub (why not?), don't teachers talk to each other about this stuff? It's just surprising that a person could work all that time and never be exposed to this issue. Union folks, HR reps, district personnel, the other teachers in the lounge or at inservice training: No one ever said "Remember, you won't be covered by Medicare"?

Well, be that as it may, I think she should consider earning the credits through a part-time job, if she is able. It wouldn't take very long.
I don't want to give the impression that we were too, too, dumb maybe kind of. When we first started working, we were young and dumb and so happy to have all these free benefits. We knew we did not pay into medicare but it did not seem so farfetched that we thought this was a benefit that the school system was picking up.

In thinking back, I remember having a conversation with a group of ladies regarding someone complaining that she made less than someone else in her same job code and we realized it was because she paid into Medicare and we did not. It was thought at that time that the school system had to be paying it for us. I wonder how many of us actually made it a point to find out for sure. I know I did not as I truly thought it was a given it was being paid for us.
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Old 02-16-2014, 09:48 PM   #38
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I don't want to give the impression that we were too, too, dumb maybe kind of. When we first started working, we were young and dumb and so happy to have all these free benefits. We knew we did not pay into medicare but it did not seem so farfetched that we thought this was a benefit that the school system was picking up.

In thinking back, I remember having a conversation with a group of ladies regarding someone complaining that she made less than someone else in her same job code and we realized it was because she paid into Medicare and we did not. It was thought at that time that the school system had to be paying it for us. I wonder how many of us actually made it a point to find out for sure. I know I did not as I truly thought it was a given it was being paid for us.

Of course you were dumb and happy and I was too my first several years (ok maybe a few more than that). I mean seriously I don't think I ever heard a 22 year old 30 years ago bragging about becoming a teacher because of the nice pension plan. Heck I thought of it as a "burdensome tax" back then. My personal observations over the years most teachers were not very sophisticated in finances. Seemed like two extremes. The ones who thought since they were professionals they should be afforded the lifestyle of a professional, which means they got in debt. Saving was never a priority because where I am from, you work your 30 years, the take home pension check was the same as the working check. There was a smaller but very frugal group, the old live on one income save the other type. I seemed to be one of the few in the middle. But halfway through my career I realized financially retirement wise it was better bang for the buck to move up the career ladder than to try and save my way to a comfortable lifestyle.
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65 and Ineligible for Medicare? What a disaster!
Old 02-16-2014, 11:23 PM   #39
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65 and Ineligible for Medicare? What a disaster!

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Bestwife,

She can contact the system herself but it will be much simpler if I were to do it. She would have to write asking permission to view her file and set up an appt. I would not have to do that.

I did not want to mention it before because I did not want to cloud the issue but she is currently dealing with a fire in her home and had to be relocated to a hotel. That in itself is a nightmare so I'm trying to do what I can.

It really does not seem right that you can get access to someone's else's personnel file like this; she would have to write to ask permission and set up an appointment but you can just get into it? Aren't there privacy safeguards no matter how good your intentions are?
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Old 02-17-2014, 01:47 AM   #40
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Of course you were dumb and happy and I was too my first several years (ok maybe a few more than that). I mean seriously I don't think I ever heard a 22 year old 30 years ago bragging about becoming a teacher because of the nice pension plan. Heck I thought of it as a "burdensome tax" back then. My personal observations over the years most teachers were not very sophisticated in finances. Seemed like two extremes. The ones who thought since they were professionals they should be afforded the lifestyle of a professional, which means they got in debt. Saving was never a priority because where I am from, you work your 30 years, the take home pension check was the same as the working check. There was a smaller but very frugal group, the old live on one income save the other type. I seemed to be one of the few in the middle. But halfway through my career I realized financially retirement wise it was better bang for the buck to move up the career ladder than to try and save my way to a comfortable lifestyle.
So true, the area of your message I've bolded above.
DH was a teacher for 30 years, and while he made about 1/3 less than I all our married years, he has a handsome COLA'd pension, plus he was able to save his 'sick days' and transfer them to payment for interim health insurance costs until Medicare (and beyond). Not so shabby IMO.
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