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I am a dual citizen of the US and another country. I collected SSI and was a Medicare beneficiary in the US. Two years ago I left for another country intending to establish permanent citizenship there--before I left, I informed social security that I was leaving. Recently I decided to come back and reestablish permanent citizenship here in the US. After I went to the social security office to set up my benefits again, I received mail from Medicare asking me to pay several months worth of premiums for the time that I was out of the country. How is it possible that I owe this money when I was not in the country to begin with? It seems that this is correctable by a simple written explanation, but who knows how long it will take for them to sort this out. Any advice would be appreciated.

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I called Medicare yesterday and, from what I understand, my social security checks (when I was still receiving them) were used to automatically offset the cost of my Medicare premiums. Now that I am no longer receiving social security, those funds are not applied towards Medicare and Medicare is directly seeking money from me. Seems to make sense, though I am not sure why Medicare is asking money from me for the month of May whereas I did not return to the United States until after June 1... still something I need to clarify with them.

Definitely not being evasive on purpose - I think it is my lack of understanding on certain issues (i.e. regarding the strength of connection between social security and Medicare).
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igloo572, I saw the later post but assumed the OP didn't know what she was talking about because it would make no sense to give up the SS, unless the benefits were better abroad from that country.
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OP is evasive about income that was received in the other country. Medicare apparently discovered something and now wants the FICA paid, that's why Medicare sent the demand letter.
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Vegas, yeah your right on the disability & SS….. but she (the OP) wrote in a later post that "she received age-based SSI, rather than disability". So I'm assuming it's regular SS and for her (the OP) SSI = Social Security Income but perhaps not???
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The OP said SSI, not SOCIAL SECURITY. You don't get SSI out of the country. The USA does allow Social Security money to go overseas to most countries as this is an earned benefit.
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What probably happened is that if you suspended receiving your SS then what also got suspended was the $ taken from your SS each month for Medicare. In order to get enrolled back onto Medicare you have to repay for the months not paid. Medicare isn't dependent upon use but has to be paid whether it's via taken from your SS if you are retired or via your FICA if working.

WHy did you take yourself off SS? You've paid into this benefit and you are totally entitled to it based on what your paid in. I know of many, many who live abroad and continue to get their SS which provides a guaranteed income stream to enable them to live abroad. Many countries accept your SS as income for those countries that require you to have self-sufficiency$$ to get a resident Visa.
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Responding to the last answer: Again, Medicare and SS are not a closely connected as you seem to think. Not sure why you took yourself off SS (you were still entitled to it I think) but it sounds like you did not take yourself off of Medicare (not even sure you can). You need to go talk to them.
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Thanks for your responses. When I left the country two years ago, I assumed that it was for good, and I wrote to social security to let them know I was leaving permanently - and they could stop all soc sec payments to me. I received age-based SSI, rather than disability SSI. I did not continue to receive any social security payments whatsoever while I was away - so I share your confusion (at least, I think) over why Medicare is asking me for any premiums upon my return.
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Generally, Social Security and Medicare (or Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA)) tax withholding, and the employer’s share of FICA, apply when wages are paid to U.S. citizens and resident aliens for services rendered outside the United States. So I am guessing you had income while you were out of county.
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Not enough info here to answer your question. But a simple letter is not going to do it. You seem to assume a much stronger connection between Social Security and Medicare than exists.

Lets take the SS part of your question first: When you say you told Social Security you were leaving two years ago, what was the purpose? When you say you received SSI before you first left, what are you referring to? Disability based or aged based SSI? Were you afraid you would lose your SSI benefit? Just leaving the country would not do that nor do I think your citizenship matters if you are on SS over 65 (but it may if you were on SSI because of a disability). Did you continue to receive it?

As for Medicare, how were you paying for it before you left? Was it taken out of your SS benefit? If so and you kept getting SS why did the Medicare premium deduction stop?

And those are only about half of the question I can think of quickly. Best bet: go to your local SS office and/or see a Medicare volunteer counselor at your nearest senior center (it does not matter if you are not a senior)
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Hope so too. You know that when you're dealing with a bureaucracy it sometimes takes awhile for them to figure out what's going on.

The only possibility I can think of is that once you have Medicare you have it for life, but I really don't have any insight into a situation in which you move out of the country and have other health insurance, then return to Medicare. Hopefully there's no obscure rule hidden in pages of regulations.

I wrote in another post that someone at IRS had determined my father died and refused to issue his refund. I had to explain to them that he was still alive. Un-be-lievable! And people get paid to do this?

Good luck; hope you get it all straightened out.
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I wasn't getting Medicare coverage during that period, so i was surprised when I received a letter stating that I owed $2,000 in premiums. I definitely wasn't receiving any benefits while I was away. Hopefully this is one of those situations where a simple letter of explanation should work.
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Were you getting Medicare coverage during that period? If so, then I would think you would owe premiums.

I don't know if Medicare covers someone who's out of the country, so I think that would be the first issue to resolve. If you had medical coverage through private sources or an employer and withdrew or cancelled your Medicare participation, then I wouldn't think you owe anything.
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