I Learned Something Today

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Apparently, if you decline to accept Medicare benefits once you become eligible (opting instead for private health insurance, for example), you also lose your Social Security benefits.

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13 Responses to “I Learned Something Today”

  1. #1 |  Bob | 

    That’s all well and good, that someone might want to pay for their own health care… but…

    Good luck with that. Try and get insurance coverage once you retire. Unless you’re Jack fucking Lalane, you will have one hell of a hard time getting insurance without the blanket coverage from an employer.

    This is a critical flaw in a ‘free market’ medical system, insurers only want to insure those that don’t need coverage or that they must insure by contract, all others are culled.

    So, if you’re rich enough so that you don’t need insurance, you don’t really need Social Security, either.

    Aside from that, though… yeah, that is pretty stupid.

  2. #2 |  akromper | 

    This is easily the most stupid thing I’ve heard in a while. Summary judgment required on this one.

  3. #3 |  Nathan A | 

    So by the same logic, if I decline to pay into Medicare I will be forced to stop paying into Social Security as well, right?


  4. #4 |  Chris Grieb | 

    Is this new?

  5. #5 |  Chance | 

    Wait a minute, don’t you have to apply for medicare benefits? On the website is says:

    “You will be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B automatically. However, because you must pay a premium for Part B coverage, you have the option of turning it down.”

    So you can turn down B, and as far as I can tell you are under no obligation to actually use the benefits from A. You just get a card saying you’re eligible.

    The social security website also says if you have private insurance: “If you already have other health insurance when you become eligible for Medicare, is it worth the monthly premium cost to sign up for Medicare medical insurance? The answer varies with each person and the kind of other health insurance you may have. Although we cannot give you “yes” or “no” answers, we can offer a few tips that may be helpful when you make your decision.”

    That makes it sound voluntary to me. There is no mention of you losing benefits if you don’t sign up.

    I dunno, I’m still confused.

  6. #6 |  Chance | 


    above is the social security link I got that from.

  7. #7 |  MacGregory | 

    #1 Bob is right. Many people can’t afford private insurance at this stage in their life. And those that can probably could care less about losing S.S. benefits. Thats probably why this stays under the radar.

  8. #8 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    “This is a critical flaw in a ‘free market’ medical system”

    …which we don’t have. We have government intrusion in everything from licensing to hospital construction to accredation of schools to FDA to endless insurance regulations.

    If you believe someone should insure you for less than the price it costs to provide you services, you will not find a company that will be in business long. No insurance company does this (and recognize the distinction between the concept of “insurance” and actually knowing that certain services will be provided).

    Government health care doesn’t in any way improve the expense of health care to the elderly. It spreads the expense of health care for the elderly to others…and this is a HUGE incentive for expenses to skyrocket.

    This is not a failure of the free market to provide. Low-cost care, charities and other options have absolutely no ability to exist with high taxes, regulations, and government promises to provide these services. And, the free market (when I can find examples of it) has in fact provided affordable care/products to lower income patients. Biogen and Amgen both have extensive programs for pricing based on financial ability to pay, but they really check your ability to pay. So if you actually just don’t want to pay, you won’t be satisfied.

    Yes, insuring your health care is difficult when you are elderly because the actual expenses are much higher. This doesn’t mean that a free market fails.

  9. #9 |  Invid | 

    Bob – you buy the insurance when you’re young & healthy and keep it on into retirement. Duh.

  10. #10 |  ClubMedSux | 

    Boyd beat me to the punch. The health insurance industry is so heavily regulated that it doesn’t come close to resembling “free market” healthcare. I’m no expert on the subject, but I suspect that two big issues here are the tying of health care to employment and the cost reallocation (and general lack of market incentives in health care pricing) inherent in the governmental regulation of health care. If we truly had a free market, don’t you think that you could easily buy affordable health insurance when you’re young and ride it out through retirement? That’s how it is with life insurance, something that seems to be far less regulated.

  11. #11 |  Matt D | 

    Government health care doesn’t in any way improve the expense of health care to the elderly. It spreads the expense of health care for the elderly to others…and this is a HUGE incentive for expenses to skyrocket.

    1) That’s how all insurance works.
    2) The benefit of government-sponsored care for the elderly is not that it lowers overall costs, but that it covers a segment of society that in many cases does not have access to private care or coverage.

  12. #12 |  Woog | 

    I personally would self-insure with cash savings… if it didn’t cost me eight or more times as much just to pay cash rather than be a member of some essentially government-mandated club.

  13. #13 |  pris | 

    Welcome to the real world, folks. Many Medicare rules are outdated, but it takes an act of Congress to get them changed! :-)Really! If you have Medicare, you do not qualify for home intravenous antibiotics, the government would prefer to pay for you to stay in the hospital for 2 weeks or a month.

    If you want a visitng nurse, you must be homebound, which means no walk or ride to the local store for a newspaper. This goes on and on.

    Most insurances for people 65 and over are secondary to Medicare.
    Medicare pays first and inrance pays whatever Medicare does not cover. Another rip-off for the insurance company.

    Medicare is indeed a good thing for those who need it, but those who regulate have no idea how the real world lives. Will our Congress or Senate ever be on Medicare? They have the best insurance money can buy.