If You Have Medicare, Must You Pay Mr. Obama’s Penalty?

Robert E LeeIt has been said, “Truth is the first casualty of war.”  Although there has been no blood-shed at this time, there is no doubt that America is involved in a second civil war.

Fortunately, as opposed to the one we all studied in junior high school, this war is being fought with words rather than guns.

Unfortunately, people are still getting hurt.  All the partisan posturing has caused many people to make bad decisions.  The misinformation and propaganda that is flowing from both sides of the political spectrum are unnecessarily frightening innocent people.

Use the form to ask your insurance question.
Use the form to ask your insurance question.


A couple of weeks ago I was asked, “I have Medicare, as well as a “major medical” plan offered by Retired Teachers of TX (through Aetna). In addition, I have a Medicare Supplement policy through Combined Ins. Co. I pay over $400 monthly out-of-pocket for these. Now I’m told I will have to pay a $600 tax penalty next year because I won’t have “Obamacare” insurance. Is that correct?”


“Extremists on both sides of the political spectrum are guilty of spreading misinformation about “Obamacare.”  It is hard to believe anything that you hear.  Supporters of Obamacare emphasize the positive changes the law makes.  Opponents of Obamacare are emphasizing the negative and scaring people unnecessarily for political reasons.  Apparently, you have been given some bad insurance information.
First, the PPACA specifically excludes those with Medicare from the Individual Mandate.  You will not have to either have health insurance or pay Obama’s tax penalty.  The Individual Mandate is aimed at Americans who do not qualify for Medicare.  You are safe.
Second, my mother-in-law also participates in the Texas Teachers Retirement Plan.  I reviewed her plan last fall.  It is also with Aetna.  The plan she showed me was an “Advantage” type plan.  If that is the same one you have, there is no reason you should be paying for a Medigap.  “Advantage” replaces traditional Medicare.  You are really not supposed to have both.  If you have an “Advantage” plan, there is no reason for you to also pay for Medicare B, Medicare D and Medigap.  You should really choose between “Advantage” and Original Medicare.
I am not an expert on the Texas Teacher’s Retirement Plan but I highly encourage you to call Austin ASAP to confirm that your Aetna plan is indeed an “Advantage” plan. (If you are not inclined to call Austin, look at your ID card to see if it has the word, “Advantage.”)  If it is, and it provides acceptable coverage, you really need to cancel that Medigap, Medicare B and Medicare D.  That would save you that $400 each month.  If the Aetna plan is not satisfactory, you only have until Feb. 14 to cancel it for 2013.
If you elect to cancel your Medicare B, D and Medigap plans , I encourage you to use part of that savings to buy a Long Term Care insurance policy that would pay to hire a Home Health Aide in the future if you have physical problems in the future.”
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