Medicare entitlement and sign up


Q. I retired in 2011 with 35 years under CSRS. Am I automatically enrolled in Medicare? Which parts should I enroll in? Does my Blue Cross Blue Shield FEHB coverage continue on?

A. Since you aren’t already receiving benefit from Social Security, three months before you turn age 65 you’ll need to go to and sign up. You’ll automatically be entitled to Medicare Part A at no cost because you paid for that benefit through payroll deductions. If you decide to enroll in Part B, you’ll have to pay the premiums for that benefit. Regardless, your FEHB coverage will continue.


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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



    I transfer to fers after working csrs for 8 years without a break in service will I received two annuity checks on for my csrs offset and one for fers

    • You will receive one annuity check, but it will include one portion calculated for your CSRS service and the remainder for your FERS service. You’ll be entitled to annual cost-of-living increases on your CSRS portion; however, you’ll only begin receiving COLAs on your FERS service when you reach age 62.

  2. BACKGROUND: I’m a retired CSRS employee 1982-2012 and have always been on spouse’s health insurance. We both retired in 2012. He turned 65 following year in 2013 with a county govt based pension and was not eligible for SS or Medicare having never paid FICA taxes and did not earn 40 quarters. At this time, he went to local SSA office to apply and was told that he did not qualify for either Medicare or SSI. He was given a letter to give to his employer that he was deemed not eligible for these services. The letter allowed us to continues our health coverage with his govt employer.

    Forward to April 2021, now at age 65, I have registered for Medicare A & B. Isn’t my spouse now eligible to register with SS for Medicare Part A and/or B by virtue of my FICA taxes paid while CSRS employed?
    Thank You in Advance for your kind assistance. It seems those that I’ve talked to at SSA regarding our situation is perplexing them.


    I was wondering why active DOD can now shop at Base Exchange and the Commissary but not the retired DOD. Are the retired DOD are going to be able to have these privileges’ as well in the future?

    • Your question falls outside the boundaries of this forum, which focuses solely on benefits covered by Title 5 of the U.S. Code.

  4. When I retire at age 62, once I reach age 65, Do I have to sign up for Medicare A & B etc?
    Pleas note: I am a Veteran with Disability for VA medical to cover and Tricare for life once 65. Either the VA will usually cover all medicine and health care and or Tricare. Please advise

    • You will automatically be entitled to Medicare Part A at no cost to yourself. That’s because you will have already paid for that benefit through payroll deductions while working. Although enrollment in Part B is usually optional, you must be enrolled in that benefit to be eligible for coverage under Tricare.

  5. Vivian Gordon on

    I’m currently under Tricare For Life as a dependent. I work as a federal government employee under FERS. I’m enrolled with FEDVIP. Do I need to be enrolled in FEHB for five years prior to my retirement? Also, if not and I enroll a year prior to retirement can I at that time temporarily stop FEHB and re-enroll at a later date? And is there a limited time to do so?

    • To carry your FEHB coverage into retirement, you would have to be enrolled in the program for the 5 full years before you retire. When you retire you could suspend your FEHB coverage in favor of Tricare for Life. By suspending your FEHB coverage you would retain the right to reactivate it at a later date.

  6. Hello, I retired under CSRS. I have FEHB Insurance. Do I have to sign up for Medicare part B at 65?

    I’ve been told I have to sign up for part B in order for my FEHB to pay costs after Medicare pays their share.

    It’s confusing to me. I have excellent coverage under FEHB and would like to continue it however paying for both is more than I can afford.

    Thank you

    • No, you don’t have to sign up for Medicare Part B. If you don’t, your FEHB plan will continue to be the primary payer for costs you incur for medical expenses, such as doctor’s services, outpatient medical and surgical service and supplies, clinical lab services, home health care and outpatient hospital services. For what it’s worth, NARFE (the National Association for Active & Retired Federal Employees) has observed that most federal retirees don’t enroll in Medicare Part B and are happy with their decision.

      • I’m in a similar situation, I retired in 2017 at 65 and never signed up for medicare part B, just kept my FEHB plan. Now about to turn 70 and wondering if I should sign up for part B at this point, my wife has already enrolled in a part B “advantage” plan, and I’m thinking of doing the same. I’ve heard I’ll pay a penalty for late enrollment, should I just stay on my FEHB plan???

        • Yes, there is a penalty. It’s a 10 percent increase in premiums for every 12 months you could have had Part B but didn’t take it.

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