Q: I worked for the federal government under the Civil Service Retirement System from 1967 until my retirement in 2001. About to turn 65 in December 2010, I applied for Medicare Part A and Part B, and was told that I do not qualify because I have only 18 quarters of the required 40 quarters. It was my understanding, which I admit could be faulty, that Medicare deductions were taken out of my paycheck since 1983 until I retired in 2001. Is there a mistake, or am I totally out to lunch? I guess I’m not too concerned because I’m covered under a good group health insurance plan which I took with me upon retirement. Still, I’m very curious about what’s going on. Please help, thank you.
A: Medicare deductions from your pay began with the first pay period on or after January 1, 1983, which means that you would have more than enough credits to enroll in Medicare Part A. You need to point this out to the Social Security Administration and have them recheck your records. It may be necessary for them to get in touch with the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Mo., to confirm that you paid for that coverage. FYI, you don’t have to be eligible for Part A to enroll in Part B.