Editor’s Note: Journalist Philip Moeller is actuality to accommodate the answers you charge on crumbling and retirement. His account column, “Ask Phil,” aims to admonition earlier Americans and their families by answering their bloom affliction and banking questions. Phil is the columnist of “Get What’s Castigation for Medicare,” and co-author of “Get What’s Yours: The Revised Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security.” Send your questions to Phil; and he will acknowledgment as abounding as he can.
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Andrew – California: I’ve been abominably answerable for Medicare through Social Security back I was awarded affliction allowances in October 2016. Although they’ve accustomed their mistake, it’s been 20 months, and they’re still charging me afterwards I’ve been told three times that they stopped! I’m 45 years old and accept had bloom allowance my accomplished activity afterwards interruption. I haven’t acclimated Medicare allowances ever! How do I accord with Social Security? I can’t get answers and there is no claimed accountability. Do I accept any accustomed recourse? Please help. I accept athirst kids at home.
Social Security is a huge but understaffed bureaucracy, and bodies generally feel like bugs trapped in flypaper.
Phil Moeller: I’m d from your agenda that you were awarded Social Security affliction and automatically enrolled in Medicare, but that you don’t charge Medicare. I accept no ablaze insights here. It sounds like you accept been accomplishing the appropriate affair but that no one from Social Security has accustomed this. There is a anatomy to use to address Medicare acceptance decisions. Accept you completed this anatomy yet?
Have you alleged your Congressman’s office? Social Security listens to bodies on Capitol Hill, and they ability be able to help. Otherwise, all I can advance is that you accumulate at it.
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I ambition apropos like castigation were few and far between, but acutely they are common. Social Security is a huge but understaffed bureaucracy, and bodies generally feel like bugs trapped in flypaper.
When I formally accompany these types of problems to Social Security’s attention, the acknowledgment consistently is to acquaint bodies to get in band by calling the bureau or commutual a complaint form. Really? The bureau needs to do bigger here. How about an ombudsman’s appointment that would absolutely be on the ancillary of beneficiaries?
Meda-Kay – Louisiana: If I accept Medicare A and B, through a Medicare Advantage plan, and a bartering action through work, which action is primary?
Phil Moeller: If your employer has added than 20 employees, its plan commonly continues as the primary allowance back an alive agent turns 65. In this case, you should attending at the allowances you get from accepting Medicare as accessory advantage and adjudge if they’re account what you are paying. If you do adjudge to bead Medicare, you can re-enroll at a afterwards date with no problems or penalties. Medicare usually is the primary allowance in abate employer plans.
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Joe – Maryland: I absolutely enjoyed your Social Security and Medicare books. I will ability abounding retirement age in December 2018. My estimated Social Security account will be about $2,500 per month, and I plan to administer at that time. My wife started accession Social Security at age 62, and she receives $900 per month; she is now 67. Back I file, will my wife be acceptable for conjugal allowances and, if so, what is the action for accepting them?
Phil Moeller: Glad you like the books! Your wife aloof needs to alarm Social Security and affirmation a conjugal benefit. However, because she filed for her own allowances early, her abeyant conjugal account was additionally reduced. As a result, I agnosticism she would accept abundant if annihilation in the way of an added benefit. However, it never hurts to ask.
READ MORE: What do non-married couples charge to apperceive about accepting Medicare
Not that you asked, but instead of applying for your own benefit, accept you anticipation about filing a belted appliance for aloof a conjugal benefit? The new Social Security rules accustomed by Congress in backward 2015 asleep some filing strategies but maintained this one for bodies like you who were at atomic 62 years old as of aboriginal 2016. Your conjugal account would be abundant beneath than your own benefit, of course, but by accomplishing this you can admittance your own account to abound by 32 percent if you adjournment filing until age 70.
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Natalie – Utah: My mom has been diagnosed with date 3 colon blight and has Type 2 diabetes. She is activity to crave radiation six canicule a anniversary and chemo every added anniversary for the aing six weeks and again will charge admonition with circadian activities such as bathing and dressing. I accept Medicare does awning calm affliction casework if they are assigned by a physician or added accountant caregiver, right? I will additionally charge a nutritionist to admonition with circadian commons able for her due to her conditions. She alone receives Medicare Part A and B benefits. Can you accord me any advice?
Phil Moeller: You’re appropriate that Medicare allowances for your mom would be bound to medically appropriate admonition and not admonition with alleged activities of circadian living. As a result, it’s important for you to assignment carefully with her doctors to appearance their requests as medically required. In the case of a nutritionist, for example, the doctor would accept to advance that she needs appropriate commons because of her action and that this abetment can alone be provided by a nutritionist.
The medical-necessity bar can be set absolutely high. It additionally wouldn’t aching to acquisition an calm caregiver you like. They charge be accountant by Medicare; actuality is an online apparatus to acquisition such agencies. If you acquisition one you like, I’d alarm them to see if they would booty on your mom as a applicant and ask them how your doctor should chat the all-important prescriptions.
Gail: I’m a contempo widow, age 60. My bedmate was 66 at the time of his afterlife aftermost May. He was on affliction at the time of his death, accepting about $1,870 a month. Social Security told me that I’m not acceptable to accept his Social Security until I’m 66 and 2 months back I advise academy abounding time. They said I accomplish too abundant money to authorize to accept his Social Security. Is this true?
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Phil Moeller: Social Security’s balance ysis can booty a big chaw out of a alive person’s allowances until they ability abounding retirement age. I advance you attending at these rules and adjudge if your balance are abundant to aish out your survivor payments.
The acceptable account is that the balance ysis does not affect allowances already a actuality alcove their abounding retirement age. This is additionally the age at which survivor allowances ability their best amount, so cat-and-mouse until again to book can accomplish faculty on two grounds.
The balance ysis does not affect allowances already a actuality alcove their abounding retirement age.
I apprehend this is a continued time abroad for you. In cerebration about your best retirement-income strategy, I advance you absorb time compassionate whether your survivor account would be afflicted by any alimony you accept from your teaching job. If you will accept such a pension, and it’s based on assignment for which you accept not paid Social Security amount taxes, Social Security’s Government Alimony Offset rules could acutely abate your survivor benefits.
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If, on the added hand, you accept paid amount taxes, again the claiming is to account which account – your own or your survivor account – would be larger. Again you can adjudge what accomplish to booty to aerate that benefit.
Rich – New York: My specialist doesn’t assignment with my accepted Medicare Advantage plan. I appetite to about-face to an Advantage plan he accepts for 2019. If my sign-up aeon to about-face affairs ends Dec. 7, back will I apperceive if this specialist accepts a new plan?
Phil Moeller: You should be able to acquisition this out afore you administer for a new plan. Medicare’s anniversary accessible acceptance aeon begins October 15 and ends, as you note, on December 7.
Plans charge accept their 2019 provider networks in abode no afterwards than October 1. Your specialist should apperceive by again if he is accommodating in any new plans. If for some acumen he does not know, you can use Medicare’s online Plan Finder on or afterwards October 1 to locate 2019 advice about affairs that are awash in your area. If you acquisition a plan you like, you can acquaintance the plan to see if your specialist is in its provider network.
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Glen – Mississippi: I’m 66 years old, and I accept date 4 cancer. I’m still accomplishing chemo yet my case artisan from Medicaid tells me I’ve been denied my Medicare Part B exceptional through the ysis of Medicaid. What should I do? I charge my medical coverage.
Phil Moeller: Battling blight is adamantine abundant afterwards accepting to additionally action for your allowance rights. Medicaid provides Medicare allowances to lower-income folks, who are again dually acceptable for both programs. It sounds like article has afflicted with your bearings or with Mississippi’s Medicaid rules, so that you no best authorize for Medicaid benefits.
However, you cannot be denied Medicare. You consistently can pay the Part B exceptional out of your own abridged if it turns out that you are no best acceptable for Medicaid. I apprehend advancing up with $134 a ages (the accepted Part B premium) ability be tough, but that’s altered than actuality told you are actuality denied Medicare.
The State Bloom Allowance Abetment Program (SHIP) provides chargeless Medicare counseling and should accept addition in a Mississippi appointment who can admonition you.
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