A lot of Social Security recipients have their Medicare premiums directly deducted from their Social Security check each month. For one Leelanau county couple, that has created some big problems and big bills.
Joanne and John Feher have been caught in a tangled mess of miscommunication, leaving them stuck with a $784 medical bill they already paid out of Social Security in 2008.
â??The problem is that Blue Cross was not paid by Social Security. The money was taken out of his check. It is there in Social Security. They have not remitted the payment to him,â?? Joanne said.
The Fehers have the documentation to prove it.
Johnâ??s 2008 W-2 indicates that $665.50 was paid, from Social Security, to his Medicare Advantage Premiums.
That same year, another $412.50 was paid to his Medicare Prescription Premiums.
Despite this document, Blue Cross says they are past due $784 from 2008.
Running out of options, the Fehers turned to Jim Verville with the Area Agency on Aging.
He has been working with the couple trying to find a solution.
â??In this particular case, the husband was having his premium for his Medicare Advantage Plan deducted from his Social Security check...and while that option is available to everyone.... we generally recommend that they either pay the premium themselves or have it automatically deducted from their checking,â?? Verville said.
Having a deduction taken directly from Social Security puts seniors at risk for getting into a situation like the Fehers.
Seniors are better protected by getting their hands on their Social Security check before the federal government.
â??You know you can make sure that the money isn't coming out of your checking account and going to the wrong place. You know. And in this case, there was a hang up there and it still isn't resolved. The funds were taken out of Social Security and never transferred over to the insurance company,â?? said Verville.
The Agency on Aging is confident that Social Security will resolve the Feher's issue.
In the mean time, Blue Cross is sending them letters every month demanding payment.
7&4 news tried to reach Blue Cross, Blue Shield and the Social Security Office.
Both parties said we could not receive information about account disputes.
That information is confidential.
If you are a senior and have questions about Social Security or Medicare, we encourage you to contact the Area Agency on Aging.
It is a free service.
You can call them toll free at 1-800-803-7174.