Medicare Part B, Tricare For Life
and Retirees Living Overseas
Everyone who is Tricare eligible must obtain Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B to keep their Tricare benefits after age 65. About 5 or 6 months before your 65th birthday, you will receive mail from the Department of Health and Human Services. This will contain a letter, a pamphlet and a form to sign and return requesting a Medicare Part B application.
The good news is that you will automatically be enrolled in Part A. The bad news though, far outweighs the good.
The not-so-good news, in a nutshell,.... you must enroll yourself in Part B, AND you will be charged a monthly premium (currently about $104 per month) AND you cannot receive Medicare benefits if you live overseas! Yep, that's right!
I have included a copy of the letter I got from them that explains how you will be chaged over $100 per month for the same benefits you now receive under Tricare. Such a deal!
You will still be able to submit claims to Tricare using Tricare for Life (TFL) after you enroll in Medicare. However, you cannot use TFL if you do not enroll in Medicare.
MediCare Part B letter
Now the easy way to enroll in Part B is to go through the Embassy in Tokyo. About 4 months before your 65th birthday, you can email the embassy by clicking this link; or you can open your browser manually and use this for the TO: address "FBU.Tokyo@ssa.gov" (without the quotes). They will need your full name, SSN, date of birth and current mailing address.
You should receive an application for Medicare Part A and Part B in the mail in a few days. Complete the form and mail it back to them at the embassy.
They are pretty quick. They processed my request in just couple of days and I received my Medicare Card in the mail about three weeks after I sent the request.
You can contact the Embassy's U.S. Citizen Services' Federal Benefits Unit at the above email address or call them at 03-3224-5000 and ask the operator for U.S. Citizen Services section.
Once you receive you Medicare Card, make an appointment at the ID Card section of personnel and take the Medicare Card with you to your appointment. You can make your appointment online at the RAPIDS Appoinment Scheduler. You will get a new ID that reflects your new status.