Medicare: must non-US citizen living outside the USA pay? - AgingCare.com

Medicare: must non-US citizen living outside the USA pay?

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I am a US citizen. My wife is not. Years ago my wife had a US green card, but she returned it after we moved overseas years ago. We now live year round in Asia.


Both my wife and I have paid into the US Social Security system long enough to qualify for Social Security in the future. My wife will be entitled to receive full Social Security starting at age 66. I will at age 66 and a half.


We have also both qualified for Medicare someday, and my questions for this forum concern Medicare.


My wife is rapidly approaching retirement age, and her most recent statement from the Social Security Administration had a reminder to be sure to sign up for Medicare three months before turning age 65 or you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty.


As I mentioned, she is not a US citizen and she is also no longer a green card holder, and it is very likely we may never return to the US to reside. So, as the letter she received indicates, MUST she apply for Medicare and start paying for Medicare B at age 65? Or, as a non citizen and non resident living outside the US, could she even apply for Medicare at age 65 if she wanted to?


And what if later on, perhaps at age 70, she and I decide to move back to the US, and she gets another green card. Could she then apply for Medicare? Would she be hit with the late penalty?


If anyone has answers, please advise us. Thanks.

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Thank you, everyone. Yes, I'm aware that Medicare does not pay for things outside the US (except in some very limited, unusual circumstances, as noted.) So, as mentioned above, there seems to be no good reason for my wife to sign up at 65 and pay for Medicare..... except, possibly, that we do sometimes spend up to a month per year in the US on vacation, and we have to take out our own insurance, which isn't cheap. Also, the late penalty seems to be an additional 10% fee per year that a person is late in signing up.

Still, all in all, just not paying for Medicare until we actually move back to the US seems like the best -- and probably least costly -- approach for my wife, even with a hefty penalty (eg: 50% extra for being 5 years late) factored in.

The one thing I want to find out for sure, though, is whether my wife, who definitely is entitled to receive US Social Security at age 66 while living overseas (due to an international agreement on Social Security), is also obligated to pay for Medicare B at age 65 even though she doesn't have a green card anymore. If she is not obligated under her current status, then if we do move back to the US someday and sign up, there shouldn't be a penalty for being "late".

I'm going to write directly to Medicare, but I'd still also appreciate hearing from anyone whose situation is similar and who may have been through this already.
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Medicare is no good outside of the US. I suggest you get your healthcare in Asia, with supplemental insurance for travel outside of your country.
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Gobbler, check out this U.S. Government publication regarding Medicare outside of the U.S. https://www.medicare.gov/Pubs/pdf/11037.pdf

The article is very interesting regarding Medicare, especially the part about vacationing on a cruise ship.
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Medicare does not pay for anything outside the US so there's no reason to sign up and pay for it. If you should come back you can deal with the penalty issue then. There is info on the govvernment websites for Social Security and Medicare if you can't reach the embassy or consulate.
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if she doesn't want the layefee penenalty she must apply.
She is married to a US Citizen.
unless your demise. Since she gave her green card back and in that instance debatable if she would be eligible for widow benefit don't know.
I know of Russian friend he workedpd in medicare and disabled receives partial benefit until he finishes his citizenship he was waiting on last paperwork. Then he will rec Medicare and medicaid.
I would try American consulate where you are. And Immigration.
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if she doesn't want the layefee penenalty she must apply.
She is married to a US Citizen.
unless your demise. Since she gave her green card back and in that instance debatable if she would be eligible for widow benefit don't know.
I know of Russian friend he workedpd in medicare and disabled receives partial benefit until he finishes his citizenship he was waiting on last paperwork. Then he will rec Medicare and medicaid.
I would try American consulate where you are. And Immigration.
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