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Stephanie O Joy, Esq
Stephanie O Joy, Esq, Soc. Sec. Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 11780
Experience:  19+ years legal exp. - 10+ years owning/operating her own SSD Law practice.
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I retired from the military as a Naval Reserve Officer after

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I retired from the military as a Naval Reserve Officer after 28 years in 2008. For 20 of those 28 years, I worked for Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD), as a civilian, while I was a weekend warrior for the Navy.

In 2012, I retired from OCSD and was grandfathered into a healthcare insurance benefit where OCSD would pay 100% of the cost of providing medical insurance for me and my wife to the tune of 2.5 months for every year of service. So, I am getting free medical insurance from my former employer (OCSD) until Jan. 2018.

I will turn 65 years of age next month in November 2013. I have not yet applied for nor requested a Social Security pension benefit, which I am eligible for, because I want to wait until I am at least 66, my full Social Security age.

Through the military, I am eligible for Tricare medical insurance, but I haven't yet signed up for it for two reasons: (1) I am already getting free medical insurance from my former employer, OCSD; (2) As a retired commissioned officer, I would have to pay for any Tricare medical insurance, if I elect to take it.

Once I turn 65, any potential Tricare medical insurance that the military would provide is "Tricare for Life" which requires the recipient to be signed up and pay for Medicare, Part B. Because of me drawing two pensions: military and OCSD, if I sign up for Medicare, Part B, it would be at a higher premium cost than those under the monetary income threshold I have already exceeded. Therefore, I don't think I should take and pay for Medicare, Part B at this time since I already have a good medical insurance plan which costs me nothing until Jan. 2018.

To complicate things a little, I went back to work for a private company in Sep. 2013 working full time for this company which provides temporary (but full time) services to public agencies like I used to work for. This private company in California offers medical insurance but I would have to pay nearly $200 per month for the cheapest plan just to cover me and not my wife. My wife is already covered under my existing free medical insurance plan.

I am told that after I turn 65 (in mid Nov. 2013) and if I turn down paying for Medicare, Part B, I would be penalized whenever I started or asked to pay for Medicare, Part B, which I have planned to sign up for effective Jan. 1, 2018 when my free medical insurance from my former employer (OCSD) will lapse and not be provided. I was also told that there is no penalty for Medicare, Part B if I have medical insurance from my employer, which I do have, but now I am retired from that employer and still getting their medical insurance.

If I do not take and do not pay for medical insurance from my current, new employer, even though I am getting free medical insurance from my former employer, will I be penalized if and when I sign up for Medicare, Part B, which I intend to do in Jan. 2018?

If I do get penalized, does the penalty accrue for each year you don't take Medicare, Part B (ie., does it get compounded per year)?

And finally, if I do get penalized, is the penalty a one-time payment, or does the rate that I would have to pay to get Medicare, Part B get accelerated upward and stay at the higher rate forever, each year thereafter?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  Lindie-Moderator replied 1 year ago.

Hello,

I'm Lindie, and I’m a moderator for this topic.

We have been working with the professionals to try to help you with your question. Sometimes it may take a bit of time to find the right fit.

I was checking to see if you had already found your answer or if you still needing assistance from one of the professionals.

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Lindie

Customer: replied 1 year ago.


I do not have any answers, that is why I went to JustAnswer in the first place.


 


I am at work this morning (10-10-13) at this computer waiting an answer.

Expert:  Lindie-Moderator replied 1 year ago.

Hello,

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX continue to look for a professional to assist you. Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance while you wait.

Best,

Lindie

Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 1 year ago.
Hi, my name is XXXXX XXXXX I thank you for your inquiry. I have been practicing SS law full time for 10+ years and look forward to assisting you. I am sorry you have had to wait so long. I was in client meeting, and could not get here sooner.

I retired from the military as a Naval Reserve Officer after 28 years in 2008. For 20 of those 28 years, I worked for Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD), as a civilian, while I was a weekend warrior for the Navy.

In 2012, I retired from OCSD and was grandfathered into a healthcare insurance benefit where OCSD would pay 100% of the cost of providing medical insurance for me and my wife to the tune of 2.5 months for every year of service. So, I am getting free medical insurance from my former employer (OCSD) until Jan. 2018. I understand. That is terrific. One thing you will want to determine is IF this free coverage is contingent on you applying for and getting your Medicare coverage at age 65. That is VERY common, so please double check. This may obviate your entire concern. In fact, it is exceedingly rare that your employer provided retiree coverage would not be secondary to Medicare, requiring that you take the Medicare. The rest of my comments, below, then will really only apply if your retiree coverage is very unique and IS primary and not requiring Medicare.

I will turn 65 years of age next month in November 2013. I have not yet applied for nor requested a Social Security pension benefit, which I am eligible for, because I want to wait until I am at least 66, my full Social Security age. I understand. And as you may know, if you wait til 70, you can increase your benefits amount by about 32% above that which it would be at 66. (As you may know, you can sign up for Medicare, if you choose it, without taking your cash benefits.)

Through the military, I am eligible for Tricare medical insurance, but I haven't yet signed up for it for two reasons: (1) I am already getting free medical insurance from my former employer, OCSD; (2) As a retired commissioned officer, I would have to pay for any Tricare medical insurance, if I elect to take it. I understand.

Once I turn 65, any potential Tricare medical insurance that the military would provide is "Tricare for Life" which requires the recipient to be signed up and pay for Medicare, Part B. Because of me drawing two pensions: military and OCSD, if I sign up for Medicare, Part B, it would be at a higher premium cost than those under the monetary income threshold I have already exceeded. High income CAN mean higher premium, yes.

Therefore, I don't think I should take and pay for Medicare, Part B at this time since I already have a good medical insurance plan which costs me nothing until Jan. 2018. I understand. Seems logical and sound thinking... but as you know, not all works on such a sound basis, when our government is involved.

To complicate things a little, I went back to work for a private company in Sep. 2013 working full time for this company which provides temporary (but full time) services to public agencies like I used to work for. This private company in California offers medical insurance but I would have to pay nearly $200 per month for the cheapest plan just to cover me and not my wife. My wife is already covered under my existing free medical insurance plan. OK.

I am told that after I turn 65 (in mid Nov. 2013) and if I turn down paying for Medicare, Part B, I would be penalized whenever I started or asked to pay for Medicare, Part B, which I have planned to sign up for effective Jan. 1, 2018 when my free medical insurance from my former employer (OCSD) will lapse and not be provided. This is a potentiality, yes.

I was also told that there is no penalty for Medicare, Part B if I have medical insurance from my employer, which I do have, but now I am retired from that employer and still getting their medical insurance. I understand.

If I do not take and do not pay for medical insurance from my current, new employer, even though I am getting free medical insurance from my former employer, will I be penalized if and when I sign up for Medicare, Part B, which I intend to do in Jan. 2018? We are penalized IF the medical coverage we do have after 65 is NOT creditable. The provider of your medical coverage should send you a letter of creditable coverage, if that plan is such, that protects you from the penalty applicable to any of those years.

If I do get penalized, does the penalty accrue for each year you don't take Medicare, Part B (ie., does it get compounded per year)? Yes. So if for 3 years, you have no creditable coverage, you'd have a 30% premium increase once you start Medicare.

And finally, if I do get penalized, is the penalty a one-time payment, or does the rate that I would have to pay to get Medicare, Part B get accelerated upward and stay at the higher rate forever, each year thereafter?
Yes, forever. So, if your premium were to be $100/mo. naturally, it would now be $130/mo. The next year, if the premium for all with your income would be $110/mo., yours would be about $143/mo. It can add up!

Given the above, I'd find out IF the coverage you are currently getting til 2018 is 'creditable' and if it is, does it require that you take Medicare once it is available.


I hope this helps! My goal is to provide you with excellent and accurate service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, I am happy to address follow-up questions. Kindly rate me "excellent" when you are done. I look forward to assisting you in the future, should you have legal questions. Be sure to start future posts with "To Stephanie Joy, Esq., ONLY" if you want me to specifically answer it.

Sincerely, Stephanie,

Your online legal resource!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank You. I believe you answered all my questions in an excellent manner. I will inquire whether or not my current free medical coverage is contingent upon me getting Medicare after I am 65. I will also inquire about it being a 'creditable' plan.


This reply is a big help to me. Thanks again.

Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 1 year ago.
So glad I could direct you a bit. And thank you for your kind words. Please feel free, if inclined, to direct any future Social Security/Medicare questions my way (by starting a post with "To Stephanie Joy, Esq. ONLY"). While I deal daily with SS, Medicare is also a pretty steady consult of mine, so if I don't know the answer, I can usually find it.

Have a great night,
Sincerely,
Stephanie Joy
Stephanie O Joy, Esq, Soc. Sec. Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 11780
Experience: 19+ years legal exp. - 10+ years owning/operating her own SSD Law practice.
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