Illinois Law, Social Security & Medicare

A federal judge has ruled that retirees cannot dis-enroll from Medicare Part A without also losing their Social Security benefits and refunding all of the money paid to them.

Anyone who has reached age 65 and who is entitled to Social Security benefits is also automatically entitled to Medicare Part A without charge. However, the three plaintiffs in a recent case brought by three federal employees, wanted to drop their Medicare coverage because they claimed it threatened their coverage under the Federal Employee Health Benefit program, which they said was superior. They argued that Medicare law allows them to drop out of the program without losing their Social Security benefits.

The judge acknowledged that the three retirees had a legitimate point that the law does not specifically say that avoiding Medicare Part A means losing Social Security benefits. But the judge found that requiring a mechanism for Plaintiffs and other similarly situated individuals to dis-enroll would be contrary to congressional intent, which was to provide mandatory benefits under Medicare part A for those receiving Social Security Retirement benefits.

The judge also pointed out that the plaintiffs would not gain much by renouncing their Medicare coverage.

Contact your estate planning or elder law attorney for more information.