Close

Part B Medicare

Greetings from Beirut!

I have been working overseas for a long time and want to retire to Mexico next year...I will start this adventure in SMA!

It is my understanding that if I do not take Part B that I "may be subject to penalties" if I go back to the US and enrol . This summer I called SSA and since I am still working, over 66, they said I would not pay the penalty; however, I should have also asked if I lived in Mexico for a period of years and then came back to the US would I have to pay a penalty.

Does anyone on this forum know about this? I have tried to Skype them several times and the lines are always busy!

Gracias,

If you do not enroll in Part B when offered, as stated in the enrollment letter SS will send you, and decide to enroll later, there is an increase in the monthly cost. It could be considered a penalty or not. The longer you wait the more expensive the monthly rate becomes. Most expats in Mexico do not opt for Part B and get local insurance here either public or private. The expats who live near the border of the US, often enroll in Part B, because it is easier for them to cross over to the US for treatment. If you have some chronic ailment, it might be a good idea to enroll in Part B so you can get treatment in the US when needed.

Thank you! I wondered if many retirees did or did not enroll inPart B. This is helpful!

You do need a US home address to enroll.
Part B. is available only to US residents.

I continue with Plan B as I want to be able to cross to get medical treatment in the event of something major.   I have Humana as an HMO in the event of a major problem.  However I get quality help at Oasis of Hope  Hospital ER in Playas  for $35 a  visit (for minor matters)  I am 85, in good health and take no drugs.  So I am more fortunate than most. 

Living in Baja does require planning for final costs in Baja.  I have that covered should  I die in the US. I  must have duplicate coverage in Baja which costs me a one time fee of about $1000 US for prepaid cremation.  Bodies can not be easily transported across the border (if at all) .  I checked this out years ago when I first moved to Playas. I don't remember if it can be done at all (but probably with enough $, one could arrange it).  I know my "burial insurance in the US" does not work in Baja.

Hi Anne,

Thank you very much for your thoughtful reply. I am so glad you included "final costs" because this is something I want to make a plan for as well. I assume that I will need a will for Mexico and one for the US and I never considered transporting a body back to the US....I have some research to do. Thank you again!

Susan

We did not enroll in B
Regret it
I had an mergency to the hospital while being a few days in the US.
Then i realized that part A alone is nothing
A lot to think of:
A) are you going to travel back to the USA for holidays
B) depending on your age, it might be difficult to find an insurance in Mexico

The penalty will be added

Launia Tate Sullivan :

We did not enroll in B
Regret it
I had an mergency to the hospital while being a few days in the US.
Then i realized that part A alone is nothing
A lot to think of:
A) are you going to travel back to the USA for holidays
B) depending on your age, it might be difficult to find an insurance in Mexico

The penalty will be added

I'm surprised.  I was in the hospital several years ago for a week for a cardiac bypass.  Just about all of the $20,000 plus charges was covered under Part A.  Yes, there's the deductible and 20% coinsurance.  A separate private Medicare Supplement (Medigap)  plan would cover that.

Part B also has a deductible, copays and coinsurance.  No part of Medicare covers 100%.

I really appreciate the replies here because they have given me "real life" anecdotes. I will enroll in Part because I will be traveling to the States a few times each year and I had considered the chance that I might need urgent medical care while there. Thanks for taking time to respond!

What about Part D ?   Can anyone speak to that?

rubytue60 :

What about Part D ?   Can anyone speak to that?

If you can register for part B, use the same address for Part D.
You can only buy prescription meds from a US pharmacy.
You may be able to get a mail order pharmacy to ship to Mexico but the shipping charges will be quite high.  Take into account that the last I heard Mexico prohibits individuals from importing prescription meds.  Tourists are allowed to bring in a quantity in their name to last the duration of their stay.

My US address is in McAllen, TX.  There is a mail service that will forward the meds with the Mexican company Estafeta.  I order 11 meds from a mail order pharmacy and usually pick it up in McAllen.  A couple of times I couldn't get up there before I ran out.  They charged me $65 or so for 2-3 day service.

Thanks.   Yes,  will be in Mexico for 4-5 months only so I will be sure to bring what I need.   I guess if I run out I will have to pay the high mail order rate.

rubytue60 :

Thanks.   Yes,  will be in Mexico for 4-5 months only so I will be sure to bring what I need.   I guess if I run out I will have to pay the high mail order rate.

Most everything is available down here without a prescription, except antibiotics, opiates, and psychiatric drugs.  With a little research,m you can find the Spanish names.  There are several national drugstore chains that carry almost all generics.  There are other pharmacies that carry Brand name drugs still under patent.  Locals, wherever you are will know which ones to use.

A Medicare Advantage Plan can cover both Parts B and D.  Part A really covers very little.  For example, I currently subscribe to Anthem's Mediblue Local also referred to as "Care More" (available in California, VA and some other states now) where I pay NO premium but covers a host of treatments, tests and medications (of course, each year the "tier" category for certain drugs is subject to change).  I switched from Humana's Advantage Plan b/c of prohibitive OOP costs for diagnostic tests and their medication tier system. It's true these cannot be used out of the country.
You can google "compare Medicare advantage plans in X" (with X being your state) and view several at one time.  Also, as other posters commented, the longer one waits to enroll in Part B, the higher the premiums become so it's best to get locked into a rate for life now rather than risking a higher one later.  To read updated regulations on penalties for failure to subscribe and other questions addressed above, see ssa.gov and the PDF booklet on guidelines.
PS

New topic

Expatriate health insurance in Mexico

Free advice and quotation service to choose an expat health insurance in Mexico

Moving to Mexico

Find tips from professionals about moving to Mexico

Travel insurance in Mexico

Enjoy a stress-free travel across Mexico

Flights to Mexico

Find the best prices for your flight tickets to Mexico