Is It True That I Must Continue To Pay Medicare Taxes Even After I Turn Age 65?

Dec 24 2019 - 9:50am

Hi Larry,
Medicare Question:

BACKGROUND: As a military retiree, I was fortunate to get a "GS" job with the DOD. I turn 65 in Mar 2020 and DOD informed me that I "must" file for Medicare at age 65, Parts A & B, or lose my DoD Health Insurance (TRICARE and TRICARE for Life (TFL) that my wife and I have had for over 40 years. Social Security informed me, in writing, that even though I will be "receiving" Medicare, Mar 2020, I must still pay the $75.00 per GS pay or $1,950 per year to pay my Medicare Tax for Part A of Medicare. In addition, the DOD must continue to match that "Medicare Tax" even though I will be receiving the benefit. An estimated 167,000 GS worker are retired military (OPM Statistics). They are all in their Mid-40s to beyond 65. A significant portion of the 167,000 will soon be, in the same quandary, as I, having to pay for a benefit that I am already receiving! If I want to stop paying the $1,950 per year, all I had to do is quit my federal GS job. This just does not make sense. According to SSA and TRICARE web sites Medicare, part A (Hospitalization) will be “free” once I start receiving Medicare. On a macro level, I estimate that hundreds of millions of dollar, per year, are being sent to Medicare/CMS by say 1/3 of the 167,000 retired vets who are 65 an older and their federal government agencies that match that contribution.

QUESTION: Assuming all the information I presented is factual, what do you recommend I do to right, what I perceive, is not waste, nor fraud but clearly abuse of those Vets, many like me disabled, that still want to serve our nation but not get punished for it? Any help/advice you can provide is truly appreciated!

Happy Holidays!
Paul, GS-14 & Proud Disabled Vet.

Hi Paul,

I know very little about Tricare, so I can't give you any advice in that regard. However, everyone who has earnings that are subject to Social Security and/or Medicare taxes must pay those taxes regardless of their age at the time of the earnings, and regardless of whether or not they are already eligible for Social Security or Medicare. Congress passed legislation requiring Medicare taxes to be withheld from the wages of federal employees starting with 1983, so you will be required to pay Medicare taxes for at least as long as you continue to work in your present job.

Although Part A of Medicare is premium free for eligible individuals who have at least 40 quarters (i.e. 10 years) of Social Security or Medicare coverage, the taxes that fund Part A continue to be withheld from people's earnings even after they turn age 65 and they qualify for Medicare.

Best, Jerry