CSRS and Medicare


Q. I retired in 2009 under CSRS. I am close to 65, and the answer to one of the questions asked states that people in CSRS are not eligible for Medicare because they didn’t pay into Social Security.

I was in CSRS before the change to FERS and stayed with CSRS. I had Medicare deductions taken from my pay from 1983-84 till I retired in 2009.

Do the Medicare funds I paid since 1983 make me eligible for Medicare or just part of it?

So which is right? I need to know so I can do what needs to be done — enroll or not. I’m currently insured under federal BCBS.

A. CSRS employees who retired before Dec. 31, 1983, aren’t eligible for Medicare Part A. Nor are CSRS employees who retired after that date but before having Medicare deductions taken from their pay for 10 years.

On the other hand, they are eligible to enroll in Medicare Part B, which is open to everyone 65 or older.


About Author

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


  1. Retired at age 72 after 30 years of service under csrs. Assume I was covered by both A and B. Also at age 70 was on on social security for 30 years and at age 70 social security began paying benefits to me while still working. Seemed dopey to me. Now note that OPM deducts medical from my pension which I am sure covers A and B. Also note that Social Security also also takes payment for part B from their payment. Seems social Security has taken about 1 K a year for about 18 years.

    Am I right an if so how would I recover the duplicate payment?

    Andy Ferenz

    • OPM Continues to deduct premiums for your Federal Employees Health Benefits coverage. It also deducted payments for Social Security Part A until you retired. After that deductions were no longer required for Part A. If you elected Medicare Part B, OPM deducts premiums from your annuity and sends them to the Social Security Administration. There weren’t any duplicate payments.

  2. i am 76 and now want to enroll in medicare as secondary coverage to my federal group health plan i am a csrs retiree and therefore have not paid into ss and will never collect ss. i am eligible for medicare . do i incur a penalty for enrolling now??

    • Retirees who are not covered by Social Security can enroll in Medicare Part A at age 65. If they do, they would pay a monthly premium of $437. Part B premiums would depend on you income level. To find out what it would cost you to enroll at your age, call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213.

  3. I am a retired CSRS retiree and turning 65 do I have to contact anyone to start medicare since I do not receive Social Security. Does OPM adjust my income to pay the monthly premium to medicare?

    • You’ll find the instructions needed to apply for Medicare at https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10530.pdf. If you are only applying for Medicare Part A, no deductions from your annuity will be needed. That’s because you already paid for that benefit while you were working. If you decide to elect Part B, OPM will deduct the premiums from your annuity

    • Bruce Detrick on

      I am turning 65 in about 3 weeks. I have enrolled in Medicare part A. I have been told by my insurer (GEHA) that retired employees Under CSRS are not required to sign up for Medicare part B. Also that CSRS insurance coverage will continue with the same coverage after I turn 65 with the exception of Part A, hospital care which Medicare will pick up. Is this right? I prefer to stay with GEHA under my plan self + 1. Is there any advantage to signing up with Medicare part B? My current plan covers 90%. For preferred providers.

      • Few federal retirees who are covered by an FEHB plan enroll in Medicare Part B because the cost exceeds the value it provides. Those that do enroll usually have substantial out-of-pocket costs that make Part B a cost efficient choice for them.

        • Cindy LeMaster on

          I just read this on your site and want to confirm this is a valid statement pertaining to most CSRS retirees. It is what I thought should happen, that Medicare Part A will become my primary insurance for hospitalization once I turn 65, and my FEHB BCBS (Basic) will remain my primary coverage for everything else. Yet, I’ve been told all different types of variations and I am so confused. Bottom line, with the satisfactory coverage I’ve received from my FEHB for years, I just don’t understand why I’d want to elect another primary care provider now, keep FEHB as secondary, and pay double the premium I currently incur. Is there any disadvantages in having Medicare Part A and maintaining my current FEHB plan only?

          • There are only two potential disadvantages of not enrolling in Part B. First, if you have health issues where Part B would reduce your out-of-pocket costs. Second, and this is only hypothetical, if you later have health issues where the cost to you would be more than offset by what you had already paid in premiums. Keep in mind that although you can delay enrolling in Part B, the later you do that the higher the monthly premiums will be. That’s because Part B monthly premiums will be 10 percent higher that the basis premium for each full 12-month period you could have been covered but were not enrolled.

  4. Nick Haluschak on

    I am retired under CSRS and have no Social Security. Can Medicare premiums be deducted from my CSRS monthly check?

    • According to OPM, “If you are not receiving social security benefits, you can have Medicare premiums withheld from your annuity payments. We must receive a request for the withholding from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. We cannot withhold premiums based on your direct request or even one from the Social Security Administration. However, the social security district office may be able to give you additional information.”

  5. Tim Alexander on

    I’m a retired Federal firefighter and will be turning 65 in three months, I was under CSRS for 30 years and worked part time paying into ss and received only 37 credits. i was told i cannot get medicare because i needed 40 credits paying into ss. I told them the government took out medicare taxes for 30 years. I was told that i would half to pay a premium for medicare which will cost more then my FEHB. MY question is, is the true? and what is the right answer? where can i go to find someone with knowledge that can answer my questions ?

    • What you were told was wrong. If you are age 65 or older, you are eligible for Part A (hospital insurance) if you have the 10 years of employment (in the government alone or in combination with private sector or other qualifying work) required for Social Security benefits, even if you are not also eligible for Social Security benefits. And because you paid for that coverage through payroll deductions, you are entitled to that benefit at no cost to your self.

  6. I had Medicare deducted from my income as a CSRS retiree, do to the fact I payed into Medicare out of my income am I still entitled to both part A and part B? Please answer yes or no.

    • Yes, you are automatically entitled to Medicare Part A. That’s because deductions for Medicare Part A were automatically taken from your pay. When you retired those deductions would have ended. On the other hand, Medicare Part B premiums would only be deducted from your annuity if you agreed to have that coverage, and then only beginning when you reached age 65. If deductions for Part B are being taken from your annuity, you are entitled to that benefit.

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