June 2015
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Medicare Moment
by Len Barend

I met with a couple late last year who owned a retail business with about eight employees and had group health coverage. We met again in early April and they had decided to both go on Medicare. I sent them to the local office to sign up for Part B and after they completed that task we met to discuss their options. I then discovered that the husband’s coverage was starting in May, but his wife’s Part B was starting in July. The social security office never told them that the wife, who is a year older than her husband, was subject to a penalty for not taking Part B when she turned 65 a year earlier. Nor did social security ask if they had creditable group coverage.
 
We ended up going to the local social security office and meeting with the representative that signed them both up. I asked him why her coverage would be starting in July and her husband’s in May. All the representative knew was that’s what he thought had to happen. We asked to speak to a supervisor and asked the same question. The supervisor wanted to know if they had creditable coverage (something the original representative never asked). The supervisor immediately directed the representative to cancel the wife’s Part B enrollment and asked the couple to return the next day to re-apply for Part B effective May 2015.
 
Without a broker guiding them, the couple would have had a fine of $10.49 per month for the rest of their lives because a social security employee got it wrong. That accrues to $125.88 per year. Using the average female life span of 81, that is a savings of $2,140.80 without Part B’s cost increasing annually.

Brokers do make a difference!

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