Don’t want/need Medicare?

Medicare Set-Aside Blog on October 29, 2008
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For now the government says tough luck. And what is worse, if you do not enroll in Medicare then you also forfeit your social security benefits. This little known provision of Social Security policy was put into place in 1993 and strengthened again in 2002. If a person wishes to withdraw from or not enroll in Medicare, then they will lose their social security benefits, despite having paid thousands of dollars of taxes their entire working lives.

This policy is being challenged by a suit filed in the U.S District Court for the District of Columbia by three retired plaintiffs. They allege that the policy was improperly adopted with required public notice or hearings.

This issue intersects with Medicare Set-Asides in that we are often asked whether the requirement to protect Medicare’s interests applies to a person who does not intend to use Medicare entitlements (such as the case with someone moving out of the country or a person that has private health insurance). The answer is always the same, the necessity of protecting Medicare interest through a Medicare Set-Aside or other arrangement lies in that person’s entitlement to benefits not their intention to use them.

The bigger question is what public policy does it serve to force people into the Medicare system? If these three plaintiffs do not wish to receive Medicare why should they be forced to accept it? Why should taxpayers be forced to pay for benefits when these three plaintiffs have clearly made other arrangements for their post-retirement health care?

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