Supplementary medical coverage
In a small victory for AARO, the Regional Officer of the US Social Security Administration in Rome has confirmed that Americans who have supplementary medical coverage from a private insurance organization (mutuelle) as part of their employment in France at age 65 or later will not be penalized for late enrollment in Medicare Part B when they later retire and seek enrollment in Medicare.
She added that a non-working spouse may likewise benefit from this interpretation if she/he is covered by the working spouse’s mutuelle. The question was raised at our Social Security and Medicare conference last June because failure to enroll in Part B when a person becomes eligible for it will usually result in a late-enrollment penalty if that person wishes to apply at a later time, and it was clear that coverage by the French Social Security system did not qualify to bar the penalty.
It should be noted, however, that AARO members outside of France may find their situation to be different, since mutuelles in France are private/semi-private entities and supplementary insurance in other countries may not be comparable. Nevertheless, the door is now open to exploring whether employer health plans in other countries may similarly qualify.
Submitted by: Thomas Rose