A federal appeals court has again said that 230,000 Medicare Part D beneficiaries who were erroneously mailed a premium refun...Read more
Federal Appeals Court Rules Retirees Can't Dodge Their Medicare Eligibility
- January 23rd, 2015
A federal appeals court has ruled that those over age 65 and eligible for Social Security can’t escape their automatic entitlement to Medicare Part A benefits unless they repay all the Social Security funds paid to them.
The government is usually sued because people want more, not fewer, benefits. But in this case, three retired federal employees who have reached age 65 and are receiving Social Security – including Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey -- sued because they want to disclaim their legal entitlement to Medicare Part A coverage, which pays for care in institutions like hospitals. Why? Because their private insurance plans limit coverage for those who can get coverage from Medicare. If they can shed their eligilibility for Medicare, the retirees claim they would get superior coverage from the private insurers.
Local Elder Law Attorneys in Ashburn, VA
Hammond and Associates, LLC, Elder Law, Estate Planning, Wills, Trusts, Probate
For Jeffrey Hammond, the practice of Elder Law is personal. Jeff’s many years of experience in law and in business did not prepare him for the crisis he faced in 2005 and 2006 when his father suffered a stroke and both of his parents suffered from dementia and other medical problems. At that time, Jeff began an i...
Margaret A. O'Reilly, PC
Margaret A. O’Reilly is an estate planning and elder law attorney with over thirty-five years of legal experience. Attorney O’Reilly graduated from Duke University with a degree in psychology, and received her law degree from Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts. For over 15 y...
Landsman Law Group
Ron M. Landsman has been practicing elder law since 1983, before it was known as elder law, originally with Landsman and Laster, Washington, D.C., then Landsman, Eakes and Laster, also in Arlington, VA, and since 1990 in his own practice in Montgomery County, Maryland. He has been among the most active members of the...
Last year, a U.S. district court judge ruled against Armey and his fellow retirees, and they appealed. Now they have lost again. On February 7, 2012, a majority of a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that while the retirees have every right to refuse Medicare payment for services, they remain legally entitled to them because they signed up for Social Security. The two judges in the majority, both Republican appointees, pointed out that while entitlement to Social Security is optional because an application must be filed in order to receive the program’s benefit, no such application is required for Medicare Part A.
“Congress could have made entitlement to Medicare Part A benefits depend on an application,” the court majority wrote. “But Congress instead opted to make entitlement to Medicare Part A benefits automatic for those who receive Social Security benefits and are 65 or older.”
The retirees vowed to appeal. "To say that you can't decline Medicare Part A and not opt out of Social Security is outrageous," their attorney, Kent Brown, told the Associated Press, which reports that the case is being funded by a group called The Fund For Personal Liberty. Two other plaintiffs in the suit are wealthy individuals who are not yet eligible for Social Security but wish to be able to receive Social Security benefits without becoming entitled to Medicare Part A benefits.
To read the court's decision, including the dissenting opinion, click here.
Last Modified: 01/23/2015