Financial

Signing Up for Medicare

IF YOU ALREADY RECEIVE BENEFITS FROM SOCIAL SECURITY:

If you already get benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board, you are automatically entitled to Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medical Insurance) starting the first day of the month you turn age 65. You will not need to do anything to enroll. Your Medicare card will be mailed to you about 3 months before your 65th birthday. If your 65th birthday is February 20, 2004, your Medicare effective date would be February 1, 2004. (Note: if your birthday is on the 1st day of any month, Medicare Part A and Part B will be effective the 1st day of the prior month. For example, if your 65th birthday is February 1, 2004, your Medicare effective date would be January 1, 2004.)

IF YOU ARE NOT GETTING SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS:

If you are not getting Social Security benefits, you can apply for retirement benefits and Medicare online. If you would like to file for Medicare only, you can apply by calling 800-772-1213.

IF YOU ARE UNDER AGE 65 AND DISABLED:

If you are under age 65 and disabled, and have been entitled to disability benefits under Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board for 24 months, you will be automatically entitled to Medicare Part A and Part B beginning the 25th month of disability benefit entitlement. 

You will not need to do anything to enroll in Medicare. Your Medicare card will be mailed to you about 3 months before your Medicare entitlement date. 

Note: If you are under age 65 and have Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS), you get your Medicare benefits the first month you get disability benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board.) 

For more information about enrollment, call the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213 or visit their website at www.socialsecurity.gov.

Should I sign up for Medicare Part A and B if I am still working?

Even if you keep working after you turn 65, you should sign up for Medicare Part A. 

If you have health coverage through your employer or union, Part A may still help pay some of the costs not covered by your group health plan. Call the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213 to sign up. 

However, you may want to wait to sign up for Medicare Part B if you or your spouse are working and have group health coverage through you or your spouse's employer or union. (See note below if you work for a small company.) You would have to pay the monthly Medicare Part B premium, and the Medicare Part B benefits may be of limited value to you as long as the group health plan is the primary payer of your medical bills.

Note: If you are age 65 or older and working for a small company (fewer than 20 employees), you should talk to your employee health benefits administrator before making any decision not to take Medicare Part B. If your employer has less than 20 employees, Medicare is the primary payer and your group health insurance would be the secondary payer.