Medicare Part B Reimbursement

Updated: November 25, 2020
Top slideshow: 

Instructional staff employees represented by PSC who retire from CUNY and are eligible for retiree health benefits have Medicare as their primary health insurance from age 65 on. Everyone should apply for Medicare Part A (hospitalization coverage—no charge) when they reach age 65, whether they are working or not. Three months prior to retirement, eligible employees 65 and older should contact their college Benefits Office and apply for Medicare Part B (outpatient coverage). Medicare Part B requires a monthly premium that is automatically deducted each month from your Social Security check and usually changes (goes up) each January 1st. The 1/1/21 basic monthly premium will be $153.30. (Do NOT enroll in any Medicare Part D drug program; the PSC-CUNY Welfare Fund continues to provide prescription drug coverage in retirement.)

Reimbursement of Medicare Part B premiums for eligible NYC retirees is a benefit won through union action. Partial reimbursement was first achieved over 50 years ago at the bargaining table. Nearly 20 years ago, the NYC municipal unions successfully lobbied the NYC Council to pass legislation to reimburse eligible retirees fully for their Medicare Part B premiums each year. (A dependent spouse’s Medicare Part B premiums are reimbursed if the spouse is a dependent of the retiree for health benefits upon retirement.) At this time, the NYC Employee Benefits Program issues reimbursements in April-June of each year for the basic premiums paid in the prior calendar year. Towards the end of the first year of paying Medicare Part B premiums, newly eligible retirees should fill out a form to apply for reimbursement of the basic premium. You only have to apply once to receive reimbursement of the basic premium each year. It may take at least 6 months after you first apply for the application to be approved and to receive reimbursement. Forms are available on the PSC-CUNY Welfare Fund website, as is a more detailed explanation of what to do.[1]

If you are receiving a pension through TRS, submit the Medicare Part B Reimbursement application form directly to the NYC Employee Benefits Program at the NYC Office of Labor Relations. Your reimbursement will be paid by NYC directly to the account where your monthly pension benefit is paid.

If you are a TIAA retiree, submit the Medicare Part B Reimbursement application form to the Central CUNY Benefits Office which will ensure that the application is properly submitted. The reimbursement payment check will be issued and mailed by NYC directly to you, so be sure CUNY has your up-to-date mailing address.

Some CUNY retirees pay more than the basic Medicare Part B premium amount each month, because their previous year’s income in retirement is above a specified level. This higher premium is called IRMAA (Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amount)[2]. Those paying the higher premium receive reimbursement of the basic Medicare Part B premium automatically once they have initially applied (as above), but are also entitled to 100% reimbursement of the higher IRMAA premium. Those paying IRMAA must apply each year for the IRMAA reimbursement, because their prior year income levels can change each year. (It is possible to apply all at once for up to 3 years of IRMAA reimbursements retrospectively.) At this time, reimbursement of IRMAA premiums is distributed in October for the prior calendar year.

For more details: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/olr/health/retiree/health-retiree-medb-irmaa.page

 

[1] Currently, those who retired prior to 2016 must apply each year for reimbursement of the “differential” Medicare charges on the basic premium. (The maximum amount of this differential in 2019 was $318.00.)

[2] Note that it is possible to challenge the IRMAA premium amount you are being charged through Social Security, if you have a life-changing, income-reducing event. For assistance in applying for IRMMA, consult your tax professional.