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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife and I are moving to France and are looking at healthcare. Currently we have Medicare A&B plus G. We know we will drop G coverage, but Part B is a little more confusing. I see that if we return there is a 10% penalty for each year abroad, plus you have to wait for the enrollment period to get that coverage back. Each of us are paying around $270 per month for Part B. When added to the estimated $1000 per month for international coverage it is biting into the budget fairly significantly.
Does anyone have any experience with this issue?
I would love to know if the feeling is keeping Part B is important. Our life plans now would be to stay in Europe until one of us passes on. At that time the other may want to head back to the USA (more important to my wife than to me).
I believe we can get on French healthcare after three years in country and that will reduce some of the cost.
Thank you all, this is a great resource!
 

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My wife and I are moving to France and are looking at healthcare. Currently we have Medicare A&B plus G. We know we will drop G coverage, but Part B is a little more confusing. I see that if we return there is a 10% penalty for each year abroad, plus you have to wait for the enrollment period to get that coverage back. Each of us are paying around $270 per month for Part B. When added to the estimated $1000 per month for international coverage it is biting into the budget fairly significantly.
Does anyone have any experience with this issue?
I would love to know if the feeling is keeping Part B is important. Our life plans now would be to stay in Europe until one of us passes on. At that time the other may want to head back to the USA (more important to my wife than to me).
I believe we can get on French healthcare after three years in country and that will reduce some of the cost.
Thank you all, this is a great resource!
I agree it's expensive. When I moved to Germany for a couple years, I kept Part B. I had to return to the states and I picked up where I left off.
I would suggest keeping it, at least for a couple years, at that time you'll be able to come to the decision.. are you staying or not.
If you have a supplement to Medicare, cancel it and if you return you can join again. My supplement runs (United Health Care) $140 per month and perscription $15.
Of course, I speak from my experience.
Enjoy your life in France.
 

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As a Brit I can't comment on Medicare at all. However, I admire your long term planning exercise. Too many expats move to a new country on the basis of their income, health, mobility etc today and not in x years time. Unfortunately, old age has a nasty habit of changing the assumptions!

I'm sure all the regulars in this forum wish you well with your move to France. Feel free to ask questions as they arise. We are very happy to help with genuinely stupid questions!

Welcome to France.

DejW
 

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You can apply to join the French health system via PUMA once you can prove you have been continuously resident in France for 3 months (you would need private health cover for, say, 6 months or more to allow time for your application to be approved).

No comment on Medicare as I have no idea.
 

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I'm keeping part B for the time being. Looking into travel insurance for health coverage where doctor visits in France are covered and repatriation back to the states in case of something major.
 

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Tried to respond to this last night, but we were having Internet problems and the response vanished into the ether. Try, try again.

On the Medicare - it is basically worthless outside the US. But last I knew they were only up to part D (for drugs, I guess) so I have no idea what part G is. You may want to talk to your Medicare/Social Security office, however, because I know someone who was able to have the penalty waived when joining Medicare "late" - due to his living overseas. I don't know the details, but it appears the system isn't completely heartless in this regard.

OTOH, some US expats here in France keep their Medicare to use when they wish to receive care and treatment back in the States. Either for specific, ongoing conditions or in lieu of taking out "travel insurance" whenever they are visiting back in the US. It's an option worth considering at least. (I believe there are a number of AARO members who are US retirees and the AARO medical insurance has been developed to factor your Medicare coverage in. Worth trying to contact them, perhaps.)
Cheers,
Bev
 

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When I moved to France, I kept my Medicare Part B because I wanted to continue to see my eye doctor in the states. However, ar the time of my move, I learned that a medication I used had recently been discontinued in Canada, where I had purchased it, and was only available in the US. I had never had Part D coverage because I had traveled and lived outside the US for many years. My penalty was high. I did some research, got together all the documentation I could, and submitted it to Medicare. The penalty was removed. My advice is to keep all records documenting the time you live outside the US, and appeal any penalty if you return and have dropped coverage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Susanmarie,
thank you for that advice. I am really kind of shocked that people are saying the folks at Medicare are not all "by the book" and actually show some flexibility. My experience with other parts of the government do not follow that trend.
I will keep any records that pertain.
 

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I'm keeping part B for the time being. Looking into travel insurance for health coverage where doctor visits in France are covered and repatriation back to the states in case of something major.
I'd be surprised if ordinary travel insurance would cover someone who is actually living in the country for which he has tried to take out travel insurance.
 

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Susanmarie,
thank you for that advice. I am really kind of shocked that people are saying the folks at Medicare are not all "by the book" and actually show some flexibility. My experience with other parts of the government do not follow that trend.
I will keep any records that pertain.
I can't see how paying over $6k per year (if you are paying $270 EACH per month) can be less expensive than cancelling your Part B and taking the 10% penalty per year, if and when you start again.

Unless you intend to rush back to the States if you get sick in France, paying all those premiums gets you very little.

If you stay in France for three years you will have paid out $18K and if one of you then goes back (and you are on the same income you are now) your premiums will have increased (by today's Medicare rates) by just over $1K per annum.

Can't really see how it pays.
 

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I'd be surprised if ordinary travel insurance would cover someone who is actually living in the country for which he has tried to take out travel insurance.
It depends on the type of visa. Certain long stay visas require you to take "travel insurance" (i.e. that will repatriate you back to your home country in the event of serious illness or injury). In France, it concerns primarily the "visitor" visa (which is the one they issue for retirees).
Cheers,
Bev
 
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