Medicare enrollment


Q: I have been on disability for several years but my husband worked, so we were told I could still be covered by his insurance. After his retirement, we were told we had to take Medicare Part B. The problem is that I am being penalized by Social Security for not taking it sooner. I was also being covered under my OPM with the VA retirement.

I called Medicare and Social Security. Medicare told me that I should not be penalized because of the coverage of OPM. I called Social Security back and they told me that Medicare didn’t know what they were talking about.

A: You were entitled to a penalty-free special enrollment period when your husband was still employed and you were covered under his health benefits policy. Under the special enrollment rules, you could have enrolled in Medicare Part B either during any month that he was still employed and you were covered under his group health plan or during the eight-month period after you no longer had group health plan coverage based on his current employment.


About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to

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