Social Security recipients cannot opt out of Medicare, appeals court rules

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Senior citizens who receive Social Security benefits cannot opt out of Medicare and rely solely on private insurance, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.

Five plaintiffs, including former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX) filed a lawsuit in an effort to reject their automatic eligibility for Medicare Part A, which covers short nursing home stays, hospital stays, hospice and home health. The group's case is funded by The Fund For Personal Liberty.

The plaintiffs claim that their own private insurance policies — which they say cover more services than Medicare — limits their coverage due to their Medicare eligibility status, the Associated Press reported.

In a split decision, the appeals court ruled that federal law provides no avenues to exit from Medicare and retain Social Security benefits. The group's attorney said he plans to appeal the decision.