Politico is reporting that former Massachusetts Governor and presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will not sign up for Medicare despite turning 65 today, March 12, 2012.
This is a teachable moment in two ways:
First, the Politico article introduces some concepts that are worth understanding if you are about to turn 65. Politico is not correct in saying that Romney has “another seven months to sign up” for Medicare. He only has three months more to sign up after March 31. He had three months prior to his birthday month in which he could have signed up in advance. It is those seven months that I believe Politico is referring to (the three before 3/1, the three after 3/31, and the birthday month itself), know as the "initial enrollment period."
- paid Social Security taxes for any 10 years of his working career (when he was CEO of Bain for example)
- he is still on a private insurance plan tied to some nominal employment in or retirement from a family real estate trust or something
I don’t think a private insurance plan in Massachusetts would insure him individually now that he is Medicare age. This is interesting because I think this crosses over into RomneyCare law and I'll spend some time looking into it. It's not a problem for most of us that are about to or that just turned 65.
Assuming Romney paid S/S for 10 years somewhere along the line, and he does not sign up before June 30, 2012 and he is not an employee of some company business, he can next sign up during the first calendar quarter of 2013 and his Medicare will take affect July 1, 2013. There is no cost for his Part A (which is why -- for both political and financial reasons -- he should do it this year and not wait).
If Romney only paid S/S for between 5 and 10 years1, his Part A would cost about $225 a month. If he paid S/S for less than five years, his Part A would cost about $450 a month.
Romney's Part B will cost whatever it costs when he signs up (it’s $99.90 a month this year) assuming he is on a private insurance plan as an employee NOW. He can sign up for A and B whenever if that is the case. However if he is on a private insurance plan as a retiree, he will have to wait and pay a Part B penalty if he signs up later.
The second teachable moment: the doofus just lost the election if Politico's report is true. He just lost the senior vote.
1 The rules -- hard to find because they are so rarely applicable -- actually talk about Social Security quarters