Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Did ya know: If you disenroll from Medicare, you give up your SS?
Old 03-24-2011, 08:52 PM   #1
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 11,616
Did ya know: If you disenroll from Medicare, you give up your SS?

I'd never heard before that anyone who disenrolled from Medicare also lost their entitlement to Social Security.
I'm sure most of us plan to take whatever Medicare offers and be satisfied--that's the default position. But I never knew that if someone turned it down they'd, technically, also be turning down their SS checks. Strange but true. From the story at this link (WSJ). Emphasis added.

Quote:
It remains a remarkable fact that America obliges most citizens over the age of 65 to take that rickety government health plan known as Medicare. Judging by today's growing number of health-savings options (HSAs, medical FSAs), some Americans would prefer to maintain private coverage upon retirement, rather than be compelled into second-rate Medicare. Yet the idea of patient choice offends many in government, and in 1993 the Clinton Administration promulgated so-called POMS rules that say seniors who withdraw from Medicare Part A (which covers hospital and outpatient services) must forfeit their Social Security benefits.
Several senior citizens in 2008 challenged the government, suing to be allowed to opt out of Medicare without losing Social Security. The plaintiffs paid their Medicare taxes through their working lives and are not asking for that money back. They simply want to use their private savings to contract for health services they believe to be superior to a government program that imposes price controls and rations care. They also dutifully contributed to Social Security and—fair enough—prefer to keep those benefits.

As recently as the fall of 2009, Judge Collyer provided support for the plaintiffs. She rejected the Obama Administration's argument that the plaintiffs were lucky to get Medicare and therefore had suffered no "injury" and lacked standing. . .

Yet in a stunning reversal, Judge Collyer last week revisited her decision and dismissed the case. In direct contravention to her prior ruling, the judge said the Medicare statute does—with a little creative reading—contain a requirement that Social Security recipients take government health care. The Medicare statute provides that only individuals who are "entitled" to Social Security are "entitled" to Medicare. Therefore, argues the judge, "The only way to avoid entitlement to Medicare Part A at age 65 is to forego the source of that entitlement, i.e., Social Security Retirement benefits."

. . . This is convoluted enough, but Judge Collyer's truly novel finding comes with her implicit argument that to be "entitled" to a government benefit is to be obligated to accept it.
The article goes on to note that we, as taxpayers, should be happy if anyone wants to withdraw from Medicare--it's money saved for treatment of others. But there are others who see it as very important that everyone be forced into the same leaky boat. The Executive Branch argued that individuals should lose their SS checks if they withdraw from Medicare.


This same reasoning surely applies to the current efforts to put those under 65 into (government standardized) plans. "If you're not happy with what you are offered, apply pressure for better benefits for everyone." It will be a vary painful cost spiral.
__________________

__________________
"Freedom begins when you tell Mrs. Grundy to go fly a kite." - R. Heinlein
samclem is online now   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 03-24-2011, 09:30 PM   #2
Administrator
Gumby's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 10,163
Why can't you have both private healthcare and Medicare if you want? Or, to put it another way -- how does it harm you to have Medicare?
__________________

__________________
Living an analog life in the Digital Age.
Gumby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-24-2011, 09:52 PM   #3
Full time employment: Posting here.
RetiredGypsy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 895
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gumby View Post
? Or, to put it another way -- how does it harm you to have Medicare?
Maybe they're more concerned with who all has to pay for it for them to have it? Or that they're forced into it, with or without their consent?
__________________
I'm free and I like it!
RetiredGypsy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-24-2011, 10:04 PM   #4
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 11,616
Quote:
Originally Posted by RetiredGypsy View Post
Maybe they're more concerned with who all has to pay for it for them to have it? Or that they're forced into it, with or without their consent?
That could be.

I dunno. Maybe if you are a Medicare participant you can't find a private policy that isn't a secondary payer (behind Medicare), and maybe they use Medicare's rules for deciding on standards of care. I really don't know.

More importantly--why should any branch of the government be working to pressure citizens to take benefits they don't want? Especially from a program that is careening toward insolvency.

And, why should SS benefits be denied to anyone just because they want their name removed from the Medicare list?

Are those who qualify for Medicaid, Section 8 housing vouchers and free school lunches forced to take everything or nothing? Of course they aren't. This Medicare case is all about forcing everyone, including those who might use their SS payments to buy private insurance, into the same bad system.
__________________
"Freedom begins when you tell Mrs. Grundy to go fly a kite." - R. Heinlein
samclem is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-24-2011, 10:13 PM   #5
Full time employment: Posting here.
RetiredGypsy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 895
Looking for sense and good judgment from the government? That way lies madness!
__________________
I'm free and I like it!
RetiredGypsy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-24-2011, 10:14 PM   #6
Moderator Emeritus
Nords's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Oahu
Posts: 26,620
Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem View Post
And, why should SS benefits be denied to anyone just because they want their name removed from the Medicare list?
In 20 years, when spouse & I start drawing SS, this will all be a moot point because our Medicare premiums will be roughly equal to our SS deposits...
__________________
*
*

The book written on E-R.org, "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement", on sale now! For more info see "About Me" in my profile.
I don't spend much time here anymore, so please send me a PM. Thanks.
Nords is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-24-2011, 10:39 PM   #7
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,649
Read about this tonight in the Wall Street Journal. The judge originally sided with the plantiffs arguing several points.....but then changed her position and sided with the government who was fighting the case vehemently. She said and I quote, "Americans have a legal obligation to accept subpar government health benefits". She then argued with the implied stance that "to be "entitled" to a government benefit is to be obligated to accept it". And of course as the OP stated.....".if one withdraws from Medicare they loose their social security". The plaintiffs (made up of several senior citizens) appealed it to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals this week.
Hard to get but so worked up about this.....as...so many things will change..who know where the target is Still...I tore it out after I read it...thinking I might look into it further.
__________________
sheehs1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-24-2011, 10:42 PM   #8
Full time employment: Posting here.
RetiredGypsy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 895
Is this related to the article I'd put up on another thread?
Seniors Should Be Allowed to Opt Out of Medicare - WSJ.com

EDIT: Oh. Yes it is. Same judge and everything. Okay.
__________________
I'm free and I like it!
RetiredGypsy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2011, 05:04 AM   #9
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 5,072
I must be missing something... why would one opt-out? This luxury is only a consideration for the truly wealthy.

Assume for a minute the Health care reform did not happen.

Any and All retirement health care plans are built based on the assumption that people will eventually be on Medicare! If that were not the case... you would see that type of benefit vanish instantly!!! The govt is carrying the risk of old age healthcare (via Medicare and our collective pooling of money... us).... NO business! NONE will carry that excessive burden!


This sounds like a political debate being played out in the courts. The far right or certain special interests must have found some foolish shill to be the lab rat in that case! Why? Only the truly wealthy would be able to afford it... and they would probably have to foot the bill themselves (no pooling of money).

Forget about buying your own insurance... you would get canceled (especially if you got sick) and not be able to buy it at any price... even healthy.... who is going to insure an 80 year old?? It does not take an actuarial genius to know what is going to happen to them... probably sooner than later!


That would merely set all of us (middle class who eventually get sick... unless one just drops dead) on the path to medicaid. What do you think would happen to medicaid if all of the elderly sick were shifted to the state?


This is a nasty situation where special interests are jockeying for position... this is 100% about who pays!


How about coming up with a real solution instead of trying the wreck the fragile safety nets in place!
__________________
chinaco is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2011, 06:31 AM   #10
Full time employment: Posting here.
RetiredGypsy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 895
There's no incentive to serve a large population of consumers by an insurance after a certain age? There was no insurance for anyone over 65 before Medicare in 1965?
__________________
I'm free and I like it!
RetiredGypsy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2011, 06:55 AM   #11
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
martyb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Bossier City
Posts: 2,182
My Social Security will only be roughly $300 per month anyway, I might be better off to just stay off SS & Medicare, & just stick with only my Fed employee health insurance. I'll have to keep it & pay for it anyway...Medicare or not, or else I'll lose it. Then, there's also Tricare which I'll be eligible for at age 60, but I think it's in the same boat as my Fed insurance with regards to Medicare.
__________________
martyb is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2011, 07:23 AM   #12
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
donheff's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 8,649
It doesn't sound like you have to give up SS to drop Medicare, it sounds like you simply can't drop Medicare -- it is universal health insurance for oldsters. Voluntarily not taking SS doesn't erase your "eligibility" for Medicare - you are still "eligible" for Medicare. Lots of 65+ers are not yet taking social security but are automatically covered by Medicare at 65. The "problem" is more likely at the other end. IIRC doctors and hospitals are not allowed to charge more than Medicare allows for Medicare covered procedures. The bottom line is these rich folks can't jump the line on the rest of us for basic - Medicare covered - hospital services because the docs can't accept those big checks. Isn't that what universal health care is supposed to be about?
__________________
Every man is, or hopes to be, an Idler. -- Samuel Johnson
donheff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2011, 08:34 AM   #13
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 11,616
Quote:
Originally Posted by chinaco View Post
I must be missing something... why would one opt-out? This luxury is only a consideration for the truly wealthy.
I must be missing something. The wealthy should have the same rights and protections as other people. If they want to opt out of Medicare and allow more Medicare resources to be used for others, why should anyone stop them? Why should the receipt of one government benefit be contingent on acceptance of (not qualification for) another one?

I agree with you--there's no doubt that there's a political motivation for this court battle--on both sides. At least one of the plaintiffs is a well-known conservative. And the person pushing the government side is a well-known liberal. That's got nothing to do with the merits of the case, and the lunatic policy it highlights.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chinaco View Post
That would merely set all of us (middle class who eventually get sick... unless one just drops dead) on the path to medicaid. What do you think would happen to medicaid if all of the elderly sick were shifted to the state?
I wish people would stop saying scary things about the Medicaid program. Half of the people who will be gaining health care coverage under the new health care legislation will get it by being pushed into Medicaid. By 2016, it is projected that 25% of Americans will be covered by
Medicaid. So, I guess someone thinks it's a good, successful program since they are expanding it. I think people who say bad things about the awful care Medicaid provides and the long waiting lists for that awful care are just trying to undermine support for the new reforms we'll soon all enjoy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chinaco View Post
Assume for a minute the Health care reform did not happen.
No need to assume or imagine anything: Health care change happened, health care reform didn't.
(I would have included some exclamation points above, but you used them all up ).
__________________
"Freedom begins when you tell Mrs. Grundy to go fly a kite." - R. Heinlein
samclem is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2011, 08:41 AM   #14
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 11,616
Quote:
Originally Posted by donheff View Post
IIRC doctors and hospitals are not allowed to charge more than Medicare allows for Medicare covered procedures.
I'm also working from memory, but I thought the rule above applied only to medical providers who accept Medicare patients. The government has no method to stop a "free agent" doctor or hospital from charging whatever the doctor and the patient (or insurance company) agree on.

Maybe that's the import of this wrangling. These people want to officially be "non-Medicare patients" and want to engage in dreaded free-market behavior: Entering into contracts with doctors as individuals rather than wards of the state. This should be allowed, no?

Quote:
Originally Posted by donheff View Post
The bottom line is these rich folks can't jump the line on the rest of us for basic - Medicare covered - hospital services because the docs can't accept those big checks. Isn't that what universal health care is supposed to be about?
I thought universal health care was about getting everyone access to coverage, not forcing everyone into identical coverage. The present health care law allows people under 65 to buy additional coverage to pay for things not covered by one of the government-approved plans--I wonder if that's a temporary situation.
__________________
"Freedom begins when you tell Mrs. Grundy to go fly a kite." - R. Heinlein
samclem is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2011, 09:17 AM   #15
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
grumpy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 1,321
I'm a bit puzzled by this discussion. I'm a retired Fed (CSRS) and have BCBS health insurance. I am not eligible for SS since I never paid into it. DW collects SS from her employment. I will be turning 65 in less than a year. I have talked to several other retired FEDS who determined that joining Medicare at 65 was not the best alternative in our circumstances and it is also my intention to stay with my BCBS coverage. Will this have any effect on DW's SS? What about when she turns 65 in two years?
__________________
...you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave...
grumpy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2011, 09:20 AM   #16
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
donheff's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 8,649
Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpy View Post
I'm a bit puzzled by this discussion. I'm a retired Fed (CSRS) and have BCBS health insurance. I am not eligible for SS since I never paid into it. DW collects SS from her employment. I will be turning 65 in less than a year. I have talked to several other retired FEDS who determined that joining Medicare at 65 was not the best alternative in our circumstances and it is also my intention to stay with my BCBS coverage. Will this have any effect on DW's SS? What about when she turns 65 in two years?
You can keep your BCBS but it will simply supplement Medicare. You are covered by Medicare and have been paying into for decades.

Edit: I was wrong about that Grumpy. You do have a choice. Now I have to evaluate this carefully. OPM advises you to go for Part A but the question is complicated. Here is what they say:

"The decision to enroll in Medicare is yours. OPM encourage you to apply for Medicare benefits 3 months before you turn age 65. It's easy. Just call the Social Security Administration toll-fee number 1-800-772-1213 to set up an appointment to apply. If you do not apply for one or more Parts of Medicare, you can still be covered under the FEHB Program. Visit their website for forms and additional information.
If you can get premium-free Part A coverage, OPM advises you to enroll in it. Most Federal employees and annuitants are entitled to Medicare Part A at age 65 without cost. When you don't have to pay premiums for Medicare Part A, it makes good sense to obtain coverage. It can reduce your out-of-pocket expenses as well as costs to FEHB, which can help keep FEHB premiums down."

This is from http://federalretirement.net/medicare.htm -- not vetted as too their accuracy. Let us know what you ultimately decide. A lot of us will have this choice.
__________________
Every man is, or hopes to be, an Idler. -- Samuel Johnson
donheff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2011, 09:36 AM   #17
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
grumpy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 1,321
Quote:
Originally Posted by donheff View Post
You can keep your BCBS but it will simply supplement Medicare. You are covered by Medicare and have been paying into for decades.
Don,

So do I explicitly have to enroll in Medicare before I turn 65? or does that happen automatically?
__________________
...you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave...
grumpy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2011, 09:42 AM   #18
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
donheff's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 8,649
Quote:
Originally Posted by donheff View Post
IIRC doctors and hospitals are not allowed to charge more than Medicare allows for Medicare covered procedures.
Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem View Post
I'm also working from memory, but I thought the rule above applied only to medical providers who accept Medicare patients.
I think I was "remembering" something else. If you see my response to Grumpy above, I forgot that Federal retirees could elect not to file for Medicare. I think the law requires FEHB insures in such cases to pay no more than the Medicare rate for procedures that would otherwise be covered by Medicare. I plan to look this up (now or maybe when I am closer to 65 )
__________________
Every man is, or hopes to be, an Idler. -- Samuel Johnson
donheff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2011, 09:44 AM   #19
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
donheff's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 8,649
Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpy View Post
Don,

So do I explicitly have to enroll in Medicare before I turn 65? or does that happen automatically?
Sorry, see my correction above, and my follow-up to Samclem. This is more complicated than I was thinking. I plan to do some research.
__________________
Every man is, or hopes to be, an Idler. -- Samuel Johnson
donheff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2011, 12:26 PM   #20
Moderator Emeritus
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 4,929
Quote:
Originally Posted by chinaco View Post
Why? Only the truly wealthy would be able to afford it... and they would probably have to foot the bill themselves (no pooling of money).

Forget about buying your own insurance... you would get canceled (especially if you got sick) and not be able to buy it at any price... even healthy.... who is going to insure an 80 year old?? It does not take an actuarial genius to know what is going to happen to them... probably sooner than later!
I just had to look. My HMO does offer non-Medicare coverage for the 65 and older set. A 0/5000 w/HSA plan for a 65 year old goes for $1,204 a month.

Ouch?
__________________

__________________
M Paquette is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Classic Medicare & Medigap vs. Medicare Advantage haha Health and Early Retirement 23 05-21-2011 10:36 AM
HELP! I give up megacorp-firee Forum Admin 1 06-06-2007 11:41 PM
How often do you give... perinova Other topics 18 12-07-2006 09:01 AM
Medicare+Medigap vs. Medicare Advantage haha FIRE and Money 2 02-01-2006 09:16 PM
They're trying to give away our SS! proud_texan Other topics 30 09-08-2003 05:54 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:19 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.