Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Medicare deductions

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Q. Back in the 1980s, there was a civil suit concerning Medicare being deducted out of CSRS federal employees. Could you tell me whatever happened to that suit?

A. Never heard of it. But that doesn’t matter. CSRS employees have Medicare Part A deductions taken from their salaries and are eligible for that benefit when they turn 65. If they are retired and want to enroll in Part B, they need to call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 and  arrange for it to be deducted from their annuities.

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Postal Service and Medicare

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Q: A friend of mine is currently receiving disability from the Postal Service. When she turned 65 and applied for Medicare, she was told she did not qualify because she did not have enough credits. Part of the time that she worked for the Postal Service does not show up on her Social Security service report. Is there any way to prove that she worked during that time? If so, can this count toward Medicare credits?

A: It’s not a question of whether she worked during that time; it’s whether Medicare deductions were taken from her pay. If that service was before Jan. 1, 1984, they wouldn’t have been. If she wants to get a copy of her entire federal civilian service record, she can contact the National Personnel Records Center. She’ll find their address and phone number at www.archive.gov/st-louis.

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Arranging for Medicare deductions

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Q: I am a recent retiree, younger than 65, and have just received my final annuity computations. I expected Medicare would continue to be deducted and have now read two puzzling things: That Medicare is not taken from annuity payments, and that I must contact the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to have payments withheld. By law, I understand Medicare becomes my primary payer, with my federal health plan second, when I turn 65. My question is: As a retiree under the Civil Service Retirement System, do I “owe” 1.75 percent of my monthly annuity to Medicare and must set it up now to be eligible when I turn 65? I would not like to have to pay a lump-sum payment in a few years.

A: Deductions for Medicare Part A are only taken from wages and self-employment, not annuities or other sources of income. On the other hand, if you decide to enroll in Medicare Part B, you will need to arrange to have the payment deducted from you annuity. To do that you’ll need to contact the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

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