Advice on Medicare Options, and Other Reader Questions

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Q: I am considering several options regarding Medicare Advantage plans and Medigap plans. How can I receive unbiased advice?

A: One source you can consider is using the services of a State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) volunteer. Each state has a SHIP chapter and can provide a volunteer, at no cost, to assist you. I volunteered for SHIP for several years. A SHIP volunteer will provide unbiased advice.

I also recommend you read “Get What’s Yours for Medicare: Maximize Your Coverage, Minimize Your Costs” (Simon & Schuster) by Philip Moeller. The pros and cons of different options are covered.

Another good resource is the latest version of “Medicare and You,” which is published each year by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), a federal agency. You can obtain it at no cost by contacting the center at 1-800 633-4227. You can also download a copy at

This book will contain detailed information about Medigap options and Medicare Advantage options in your geographic area. According to CMS, if you do not enroll in Medigap in the six-month open enrollment period when you’re 65 or older, you may not be able to buy Medigap. And if you are able to buy it after that period, it may cost more.

Q: I am divorced after more than 10 years of marriage. I am receiving a spousal benefit from this marriage because I have not worked very much under Social Security. I am 62 years old and considering remarrying. What are the advantages and disadvantages of remarrying? Although the man I am considering marrying is receiving a Social Security benefit, his benefit is lower than the benefit of my ex. Will my Social Security benefit decrease if I remarry?

A: Once you remarry, you are no longer eligible for an ex-spousal benefit. You will be eligible for a spousal benefit from your new husband after one year. If you have earned a sufficient Social Security benefit based on your work record, you can apply for that benefit after you remarry. Then, after a year, you can apply for a spousal benefit based on your new spouse’s work record.

If you remarry after age 60, you will be eligible for a survivor benefit if your ex dies before you. You are only entitled to whichever benefit is higher, the survivor benefit or the spousal benefit, but not both. A survivor benefit from your ex will likely be higher than the spousal benefit from your new husband if you remarry. At age 60 and above, you are eligible for a survivor benefit. However, this benefit is discounted prior to your full retirement age, which in your case is 67.

Q: I am 62 years old. My husband is now retired and receiving a Social Security benefit. We have been married for 30 years. I know if I apply for a spousal benefit at 62, I will not receive 50 percent of his benefit. If I apply now, when I reach 67, my full retirement age, will I then receive 50 percent of his benefit?

A: No. When you apply for spousal benefits prior to your full retirement age, your spousal benefits will be permanently reduced. You will not receive 50 percent of his benefits when you reach your full retirement age.

Q: I plan on rolling over a Roth IRA account that was converted a few years ago to a new financial institution. Will the five-year period restart, or will the date I converted the account to Roth be applicable

A: According to IRA expert Ed Slott’s group (, the date you did the initial conversion will still be applicable. You will not have to wait an additional five years. I recommend that you have the new financial institution handle the process, rather than a personal rollover. In that way, you will have more flexibility regarding the once per year rollover.

Q: Can I purchase Series I savings bonds in my IRA account?

A: No.

(Elliot Raphaelson welcomes your questions and comments at

©2022 Elliot Raphaelson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

The Epoch Times Copyright © 2022 The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors. They are meant for general informational purposes only and should not be construed or interpreted as a recommendation or solicitation. The Epoch Times does not provide investment, tax, legal, financial planning, estate planning, or any other personal finance advice. The Epoch Times holds no liability for the accuracy or timeliness of the information provided.

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