Question: My parents are US citizens, but they have lived in Europe for the past ten years. My mom is 63 and my dad is 76. They want to move back to California. Their combined income is roughly $40,000. Will they be able to sign up for private plans and use the Covered California subsidy, and get plans thru that. Or will they HAVE to use Medicare because of their age? They want to get the BEST platinum-level plan possible, and I am willing to help them financially. Will the Medicare best plan be comparable to the private level platinum best plan? I am concerned and want to know what their options will be, and what the BEST coverage will be through Medicare.
Answer: The ACA mandates that individuals age 65 and older to enroll in Medicare. If your father does not have fully insured status (40 credits) he will pay a premium of up to $426 in 2014. He may also have to pay a premium penalty for not registering at age 65 (not sure if there is an exemption for being out of the country). In your father’s case original Medicare coverage with a Plan F Supplement (an additional $200/mo) would be even better than Platinum private coverage (100% coverage with unlimited network). Your mother (age 63) is eligible for a premium tax credit of about $330/mo. Which she can apply to the purchase of a Platinum Plan through the exchange, leaving her a net premium of approximately $500 per month. The total monthly cost to accomplish what you outlined above is approximately $1,200 per month (assuming no Medicare premium penalty).