Part A not mandatory, but smart to have


Q. I turned 65 on July 6, 2011. I was advised prior to my birthday that I did not need to sign up for Medicare Part A until my retirement in July 2012. Is this correct? I am covered by a group policy at this time.

A. While you don’t need to sign up for Medicare Part A, I can’t think of any reason why you wouldn’t want to do that. Although you will continue to have deductions taken from your salary to pay for that benefit, you wouldn’t have to pay any premiums for that coverage. If you did sign up while working, your group plan would be the primary payer and Medicare Part A the secondary one. The combination of these two benefits often fills in gaps that each have. Further, they usually reduce the amount of co-insurances and deductibles you’d have to pay.


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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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