State won’t pay Medicare premiums for seniors

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State won’t pay Medicare premiums for seniors 

I recently received a letter from the Social Security Administration. 

The first paragraph says it all: “The state of South Carolina will no longer pay your Medicare medical insurance premiums after December 2010. You must pay the premiums beginning January 2011.”

This was the first awareness that I had of this measure. Attempts to contact the Social Security Administration, Medicare and representatives were met with no success. This was the result of both telephone and Internet contacts. 

I would like to know where the authority for this measure came from. It seems to me that South Carolina and/or the SSA made an arbitrary or unilateral decision.

My Social Security check is my sole income. This deduction represents 10 percent of my income. Social Security recipients have received no cost-of-living allowance for the last two years. I have tightened my budget over recent years to get by. This deduction represents a difficult obstacle in my living expenses.

I view this deduction as equal to a tax (without representation).

I hear much talk about reducing government spending and the first area that I hear is about entitlements. The connotations to this word are that this includes Social Security and Medicare payments.

I would like to point out that I worked for more than 45 years and paid FICA taxes throughout those years. I also consider that I entered into a contract with the SSA, which basically said that for my contributions to FICA, in return, I would receive retirement benefits. I, therefore, consider that by this deduction, the SSA has breached this contract.

I have a few questions:

1. Is this deduction a universal or a selective program? That is, will every Medicare recipient be faced with this deduction or are there qualifications for only certain recipients?

2. Is there an appeal process?

I am dismayed and outraged by this deduction and hope that you may be of help. I look forward to your reply.

Angelo Constantine

Indian Land