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Soon to Become Medicare Eligible? When Should You Enroll?

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Medicare is the federal health insurance program for individuals age 65 and over.  The following describes when and how to enroll.  More information can be found on the Social Security Administration website http://www.ssa.gov/ or by contacting your local Social Security Administration office.    

For the employee:
Employees who are approaching their 65th birthday, are actively at work and have medical insurance coverage through active employment do not need to enroll in Medicare Part B at this time, however, they should enroll in Medicare Part A. 
Enrollment in Part A is generally provided at no cost.  The packet of information you will receive from the government concerning Medicare Part A and Part B enrollment, should include a postcard to complete and return if you do not need Medicare Part B at this time.  You may also go online at http://www.ssa.gov/  or visit the local Social Security office several months prior to your 65th birthday for information concerning enrollment in Medicare Part A and Part B. 

Employees who are 65 years old or older, actively at work and enrolled in USNH medical benefits do not need to enroll in Medicare Part B until they have retired and/or terminated employment or medical coverage.  Several months prior to retiring, contact the Social Security office to complete a “Special Enrollment” to enroll in Medicare Part B.

Even though Medicare eligible, employees who are 65 years old or older, actively at work and enrolled in USNH medical benefits will continue to have the USNH’s medical insurance remain their primary insurance.

For the employee’s spouse:
The employee’s spouse reaching age 65 and covered under USNH medical insurance should enroll in Medicare Part A either online at http://www.ssa.gov/  or by visiting their local Social Security office.  Medicare Part A is generally provided at no cost.  USNH medical insurance will remain the spouse’s primary insurance. 

The spouse does not need to enroll in Medicare Part B as long as the employee remains actively at work and continues to cover the spouse under USNH medical insurance.  Once the employee retires and/or terminates employment or medical coverage, the spouse must contact the Social Security office to complete a “Special Enrollment” to enroll in Medicare Part B.

Medicare Part D (prescription drug plan)
As you approach your 65th birthday you will more than likely get information from various insurance companies concerning enrollment in a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.  Prescription coverage offered through USNH medical insurance plans is considered “creditable” which means it’s as good as or better than what Medicare offers so it is not necessary for you to enroll in a Medicare Part D plan until you no longer have creditable coverage through USNH.

Contact the Office of Human Resources benefits representatives with any questions and we will be pleased to assist you.  Susan Nolan 2-0504 or Kristie Camacho 2-0509.