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I am curious if anyone has yet received their new Medicare card via mail to the Boquete Post Office. The mailing to US addresses is nearly complete, and I imagine Medicare left foreign mailing addresses for last. All Medicare enrollees are being assigned a Medicare number, which will replace the Social Security number used up until now as Medicare ID. Deadline is April 2019.

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Yes, I received a new card  in Boquete but only after there had been a glitch with my coverage and I had to be re-instated with Part B.  After months of begging I convinced SSA to change my mailing address to the US where a family member can screen my mail and forward what's important to me.  The Medicare card sent to the Boquete Post Office took over a month to get there.  Good luck!  

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37 minutes ago, DanL said:

Yes, I received a new card  in Boquete but only after there had been a glitch with my coverage and I had to be re-instated with Part B.  After months of begging I convinced SSA to change my mailing address to the US where a family member can screen my mail and forward what's important to me.  The Medicare card sent to the Boquete Post Office took over a month to get there.  Good luck!  

Thank you. But if your mailing address registered with SSA is in the US, then you are not on the foreign mailing list, which was the thrust of my question.

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I took S.S. at 62. According to what I have read you automatically get enrolled in Medicare part B when you hit 65. This may not be so because I use a Panama address.  I have not seen the $134.00 deduction and so I am going to enroll or check that I have been. You cannot get a S.S. online account with a foreign address. So the question is... Is there a better way to enroll or check than phoning the U.S. S.S. office #800 772 1213 or the Federal Benefits Unit, Costa Rica #506 2519 2228

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Answered my own question. Called Costa Rica and it rang for 30 minutes. They picked up and they are emailing me a form that I can fill and email back then I will be enrolled. The person I talked to was great. 

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On 11/30/2018 at 8:45 AM, BD said:

Haven't gotten mine yet.

Our new cards came in the mail this week...via MBE

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I forgot to give a big "thank you" to Skype

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I finally have my new Medicare number and card. I have a letter from Medicare which states that they are not mailing new cards to most people with Medicare who have a mailing address outside of the US. Waiting for the card to come to the Boquete post office is clearly futile.

In the letter, Medicare directs you to go online to MyMedicare.gov. where you can sign in if you have an account, or where you can create an account (my circumstance). Fairly easy and straightforward. Once logged in, there is a menu button to print the new Medicare card. Done. I now have a very odd-looking 11-digit Medicare Number.

Perhaps this will help anyone who hasn't yet obtained their new Medicare number, which is required by law after April 2019...

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Ours arrived at MBE.  That's the addy SOC Sec and IRS have for us.  Been here 11 yr and so far no issues with it...knock on wood.  Thanks for your pointers though!  I WILL pass it  on to our young folk friends  just  qualifying for Medicare.

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I believe that there is no postal delivery to MBE in Boquete, and so I'm guessing that your MBE address is Florida.

If that is the case, then your MBE address is not "outside of the US". That will be worth clearing up.

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1 hour ago, Jim Bondoux said:

I believe that there is no postal delivery to MBE in Boquete, and so I'm guessing that your MBE address is Florida.

If that is the case, then your MBE address is not "outside of the US". That will be worth clearing up.

Jim, the MBE address is in Florida, but mail is then forwarded to MBE in Boquete. I'm not sure what you mean by "[t]hat will be worth clearing up." I have always gotten mail from Medicare at MBE. It's a much better alternative than depending on the slow, slow, slow Panamanian mail system.

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I totally agree that using MBE has some huge advantages over the postal system. My point is that if you are using an MBE address in Florida, for Social Security and Medicare, those entities do not know that your residence is outside of the US. That you have no mail issues follows naturally - and they issued your new Medicare card as required by the law. They are not mailing new Medicare cards to non-US addresses, per their letter that I quoted previously. You have effectively cleared up for me that you do not have a mailing address outside of the US.

I imagine that you have not been receiving the so-called "proof of life" form (form 7162) either. If a Social Security beneficiary lives outside the US without providing an acceptable foreign mailing address, that beneficiary risks losing their benefits. You might do an online search for "GN 02401.08" which is the current Social Security regulation concerning acceptable addresses.

I will quote the key part of the regulation: QUOTE

GN 02401.080: Use of United States Address by Beneficiary Abroad

1 change
*
  • Effective Dates: 01/18/2017 - Present
  •  
  • TN 28 (01-17)

  •  
  • GN 02401.080 Use of United States Address by Beneficiary Abroad
  •  
  • A. When to use a U.S. mailing address
  •  
  • A beneficiary abroad may use a U.S. mailing address when he or she:
  • * has an Army Post Office, Fleet Post Office or Diplomatic Post Office address,
  • * has a representative payee in the U.S., or
  • * expects to be abroad for 3 months or less.
  •  
  • NOTE: The beneficiary (or their representative payee) must always keep SSA advised of his or her residence address for contact and foreign enforcement purposes.
  •  
  • B. When not to use a U.S. mailing address
  •  
  • A beneficiary may not use a mailing address in the U.S. to receive payment when he or she:
  • * travels abroad for more than 3 months;
  • * resides in a Treasury restricted country listed in RS 02650.001C; or
  • * resides in a barred country listed in RS 02650.040.
  •  
  • NOTE: Do not send checks to relatives or friends in the U.S. for beneficiaries who are abroad more than 3 months except during interim periods while developing a proper mailing address.
  •  
  • C. Receiving benefit payments while having a foreign address
  •  
  • A beneficiary with a foreign address living outside the U.S. may have his or her benefit payment sent to a financial institution (FI) of his or her choice. Title XVI recipients are ineligible to receive benefits while residing outside of the U.S. unless an exception applies. For more information on exceptions, see GN 00303.700A.
  •  

UNQUOTE

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You are correct about the proof of life form. Although the s.s. Instructions say that you may not use a forwarding address and that doing so will result in your benefits being suspended, it’s not so. In fact, it seems to protect you from receiving the form. If you have your check deposited in a Panamanian bank, however, it triggers the mailing of a proof of life form to the local post office, as does registering your Panama whereabouts on s.s. online. I, for one, am happy not to be on the proof of life mailing list and therefore plan to change nothing.

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A perfectly rational choice on your part, in my view. The risk involved is probably very low, and likely to cause a hassle only in the event of a glitch along the way. I was just attempting to be helpful to those of us who are in compliance with the administrative requirements. Differentiating between a US mailing address and a Panama address is part of that. Best wishes.

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I also should add, Jim, that even were I inclined to "get legal" and reveal my foreign address by registering with SSA online, it's not possible to do so from Panama. And we all know what the likely wait period would be to speak to someone were I to telephone SSA in either the U.S. or Costa Rica. If I'm ever found out and chastised, I intend to point out how very difficult they make enrollment for persons abroad.

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Bonnie, I agree. I signed up mymedicare.gov today, but can't sign up for the my social security using the same Boquete address. Go figure! Anyway the hold time to call SS is 55 minutes vs 10 minutes some time back. Especially maddening when they keep screwing up my deposits.

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Bonnie....yes.  I signed up our Soc Sec  before we had left the states and set up deposit to Wells Fargo Bank.   That's the way it's been for me since we left the USA 11 yr ago.  Now my husband signed up after we moved here 7 yr ago an he was able to sign up for Soc Sec on the VOIP  phone from here......giving them a USA addy  ( relative ) informing then that we were in retirement and traveling the world and that addy would be our home base.  No problem they said...it was a done deal and the Soc Sec checks have been entered into our USA bank ever since. 

That said....everything seems to change in time but so far so good.   When we get our Soc Sec information each year it's sent to the PTY MBE addy the one we gave them telling them that it was our home base for mail.

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But, returning to the subject at hand, I have not received my new Medicare care via my MBE Miami address. I guess I’ll have to go to MyMedicare.gov and sign up.

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Having lived here for 16 years it's my opinion that life is much easier if the US government doesn't know you live in a foreign country. I would never have my social security deposited in a Panama bank. I've seen several of them fail and the rigamarole you have to go through with your account here is daunting. I don't file the proof of life form.

Interesting enough, the new medicare card never came to my stateside address. It was fairly easy to go to mymedicare.gov and print out front and back of the new medicare card. My next step is to go to MBE and have the card laminated.

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Posted (edited)

Hmm, looks like encountering procedural difficulties with government is not something unique to Panama. 

Edited by Keith Woolford

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Complying with the SS administration's requirement to communicate a mailing address in one's country of residence doesn't affect the freedom of choice for a depository bank. Your mailing address can be in Panama, and your bank account for receiving social security payments in the US. That's my situation.

As to "procedural difficulties with government", those are pretty much universal...

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58 minutes ago, Jim Bondoux said:

Complying with the SS administration's requirement to communicate a mailing address in one's country of residence doesn't affect the freedom of choice for a depository bank. Your mailing address can be in Panama, and your bank account for receiving social security payments in the US. That's my situation.

As to "procedural difficulties with government", those are pretty much universal...

Your vote.   We told them we were traveling around the world and on an indefinite schedule receiving our mail by mail forwarding.   They were AOK with that.   That puts our addy in the USA...Miami.   11 years and so far without Proof of Life filing we have been receiving our Soc Sec notices and as well our IRS docs through MBE.   

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