Q. I am a federal government retiree who turned 65 in March. I have Kaiser of Southern Cal health benefits. Do I have to enroll in Medicare? Should I enroll in Medicare? If I enroll in Medicare, will it change coverage for my wife? How would I enroll?

A. Medicare is a benefit that is personal to you. While you don’t have to enroll in Medicare Part A, it wouldn’t make any sense not to. You paid for that coverage through payroll deductions, and there aren’t any premiums to pay. Medicare Part B is different. You would have to pay monthly premiums for that coverage. So you’ll need to compare the benefits in your Federal Employees Health Benefits plan with what Part B has to offer and make a decision. If you decide not to enroll at present and later change your mind, you’ll have to pay higher premiums. For more information about Medicare and to enroll, call 1-800-772-1213 or go online to


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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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