In October 2019, the Trump Administration issued an executive order allowing individuals receiving Social Security benefits to opt out of Medicare Part A coverage (E.O. 13890, Sec. 11). In January 2021, the Biden Administration withdrew the Trump order, thereby reestablishing that Social Security benefits may not be severed from Medicare Part A coverage.
The Trump order, which took effect on April 3, 2020, contradicted a 2012 D.C. Circuit case, Hall v. Sebelius, which held that the link between Part A and Social Security benefits could not be cut.
At the time the 2019 executive order was issued, the Center for Medicare Advocacy noted that allowing individuals to access Social Security benefits without participating in Medicare Part A coverage had been a long-standing conservative goal and could potentially damage the program. “Allowing individuals who can self-fund their health care to decline Medicare erodes shared experiences, commitment to, and investments in our nation’s flagship insurance program, and therefore can erode widespread, popular support for the program and make it more susceptible to negative changes,” the group said, adding that the Medicare risk pool would be fundamentally altered if healthier and wealthier people were permitted to opt out.
For ElderLawAnswers’ earlier article on the Trump executive order, click here.