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Enrolling in Medicare

Medicare Part A, which helps cover hospital stays and post-hospital care, begins when you turn 65. You must enroll in Part A, even if you plan to continue working. If you plan to retire, you have decisions to make about Medicare Part B and Part D. You may find Medicare's online Frequently Asked Questions and the Board's Choosing Healthcare Coverage at Retirement booklet useful as you assess your choices.

If you have opted out of Social Security, visit ssa.gov or call the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213 for information.

To ensure that you receive the most comprehensive and affordable healthcare coverage, there are a few steps you need to follow when turning 65.

How To Enroll

If you are retiring: Choose between Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) and Medicare Advantage (Part C).

If you are not retiring: Enroll in Medicare Part A, and defer Part B.

Original Medicare

You choose your healthcare providers.

Medicare Part A (hospital and some post-hospital care coverage)

If you paid Medicare taxes while working, you usually do not pay a premium.

  • If you will be getting Social Security benefits, you will be automatically enrolled in Part A starting the first day of the month of your 65th birthday.
  • If you will not be getting Social Security benefits (e.g., you will continue to work), you should enroll in Part A. You can enroll at ssa.gov up to three months before your 65th birthday.

Note: If you continue to work, the number of employees at your employing organization determines if the Medical Plan or Medicare has primary responsibility for charges covered under Part A.

Medicare Part B (doctor and preventive care services and outpatient medical care)

Social Security charges a monthly premium for this optional coverage.

  • If you will be getting Social Security benefits, you will be automatically enrolled in Part B starting the first day of the month of your 65th birthday. If you want to defer Part B coverage, contact Social Security before the effective date of your Medicare coverage.
  • If you will not be getting Social Security benefits (e.g., you will continue to work), you can contact Social Security to defer Part B coverage until you need it.

Medicare Advantage Plans (Alternative to Original Medicare)

The providers available to you are determined by the Medicare Advantage private insurer you select.

Medicare Part C (physician and hospital services; most include outpatient prescription drug coverage, some include additional benefits, such as vision and dental)

A Medicare Advantage Plan, also known as Medicare Part C, replaces Part A and Part B and is offered through Medicare-approved private insurers. If you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you usually pay a monthly premium to the private insurer in addition to your Part B premium. Medicare Advantage plans can charge different monthly premiums and feature different out-of-pocket costs, such as copays.

  • If you will be getting Social Security benefits, you can enroll when first eligible for Medicare.
  • If you will not be getting Social Security benefits (e.g., you will continue to work), you likely will not want to choose a Medicare Advantage Plan, as Part B is included in these plans.

Medicare Part D (outpatient prescription drugs)

Social Security charges a monthly premium for this optional coverage.

If you are retired, you can enroll for Medicare Part D. You should not enroll for Part D if you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan that includes Part D coverage or if you will be participating in the Medicare Supplement Plan offered through the Board of Pensions, which includes Part D, plus supplemental coverage for Parts A and B.

You can enroll for Part D when enrolling for other Medicare plans (Original or Medicare Advantage) a few months before you retire.

Supplemental Coverage

If you are retiring, you should determine if you will enroll in a Medigap plan, which supplements Medicare coverage. You are eligible for a Medigap policy if you have coverage under Medicare Part A and Part B. You have a six-month period in which to enroll in a Medigap policy, beginning the first month you are 65 or older and enroll in Medicare Part B.

The Board's Medicare Supplement Plan is designed to work with Medicare to offer comprehensive healthcare coverage to Medicare-eligible retired members and their eligible family members. While not a standard Medigap plan, it fills many of the coverage gaps in Original Medicare, including providing comprehensive Part D prescription drug coverage.