Monday, September 15, 2008

Can't Cancel Medicare Part B From Abroad

Incheon, South Korea

An anonymous commenter to Knife Tricks makes a point that bears emphasizing about how poorly expats are treated by the U.S. Medicare system:

I heard that the SSDI COLA was going to be substantial year... I also heard that the Medicare premium would eat most of it up.

since I could use the case I decided to cancel my Medicare Part B.

I am disabled, living abroad in Belize, and there's free healthcare here, so I don't need Part B. (I'm keeping Part A in case there's some future emergency, that seems wise)

but just TRY to cancel Part B from abroad!!

you can't do it .

your choices are, to phone a toll-free number, (USA 800 numbers don't WORK from Belize), or, an in-person visit to a Social Security office.

I'm not going to spend $1000 bucks for a round-trip plane ticket, just to have a ten minute appointment!

apparently, Social Security MUST discuss it with you, either on the phone, or in person, to explain the "ramifications" of such a choice (disenrollment is unsafe!)

geez, Louise, I am frustrated by this.

oh, and the special form for disenrollment (CMS-1763) is "privately owned" and NOT available online....

Medicare is not a health care guarantee for U.S. citizens. It's a payment guarantee for the U.S. health care industry. This becomes obvious when you try to take advantage of the lower costs of international health care -- and learn that Medicare (which, on paper, should seek to cut costs) doesn't want to let you.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Mr Lukacs, I just sent you an e-mail. I´m a Brazilian journalist writing a story on tourism in dangerous places and I was wondering if you would mind giving me a brief interview. My e-mail is My name is Paula and I work for the webpage Thanks in advance

1:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't do it! Sounds like a State Department trick!

5:13 PM  
Blogger Kimonoboy said...

I live in Japan and I too don't require Medicare Part B.

I called the SS 800-772-1213 and asked to cancel my enrollment. The person I spoke to said I could come in to one of the SS offices or they would send me a cancellation form. They will not mail the form out of the States so I had it sent to my sister's house. She in turn, mailed it to me.

I completed the form and mailed it registered about a month ago from Japan but the SS apparently won't sign for a registered letter because it's been waiting for a signature at their Post Office for the last 3 weeks.

But my point is that you can cancel Medicare Part B from outside the US. When you call the SS, it takes a while to get through to a real talking head. Everyone I spoke to was nice and as helpful as possible.

I use Gizmo Project low cost computer based telephone call software and with it you can make 800 calls from outside the US ($.02 per min) (

1:09 PM  

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