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.
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).
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.
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)
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.
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.