Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Reminder for American Senior Citizens Living Abroad

If any of my readers are Americans living abroad you already know that since you live abroad you cannot receive Medicare. If you are still in the US and thinking of retiring to Malaysia or some other country you should know that you cannot receive Medicare, even though you have paid into Medicare all of the time you were working.

I realized that point and also realized that healthcare in Malaysia was extremely good and also extremely cheap, as compared to the US. Today I received a letter in the mail from Health and Human Services providing information to American retirees living abroad. Since I will soon be 65 the letter informed me that I will automatically be enrolled in Medicare Part A, but will not be able to receive any benefits since I live abroad. Included with this information was an application to apply for Medicare Part B. Since I live abroad I also am ineligible to receive benefits under this part of Medicare. I was informed that I could pay the monthly payments, even though I can't benefit from it. Makes no sense to me. If, however, I decide at a later date to return to the US and want to enroll in Medicare Part B, I will have to pay a penalty of 10% on the monthly premiums. In other words I have to pay a penalty for not using something I have been paying for, for many years.

The fact that American retirees are discriminated against solely because they live abroad is wrong and unacceptable.We paid into Social Security and we can receive that. Why can't we receive Medicare benefits, for which we also paid for? It would be much cheaper for Medicare to pay our medical expenses abroad than to pay for our expenses at home. If you don't like this arrangement write to your Congressman and Senators to complain. It may not do any good, but it can't hurt.


  1. I agree it would be better if Medicare covered overseas medical care but it doesn't.

    I think what you are saying above isn't entirely correct. You can live overseas and get covered medical expenses paid (overseas expenses are not covered). So, even if you live overseas, if you were on vacation in the USA, or returned to the USA for treatment you would be covered.

    Medicare just doesn't pay for medical expenses incurred overseas. I don't think where you live matters. If a retiree living in Iowa was on vacation in the UK I don't think medicare pays either.

    Changing what is covered I think would be wise. Medicare could even save money if it did some intelligent things to encourage people to get medical care in countries with much more cost effective health care. Of course that would be politically unacceptable right now.

  2. Thanks for your comment Curiouscat. Since I live overseas it does me no good to be covered for only treatment in the US. It would not be cost effective to return to the US for treatment every tiem I needed it. I agree with you about changing what is covered and the fact that Medicare could save money by encouraging people to seek treatment overseas.