To keep, or not to keep, Part A


Q. I am 68 and still working. I am fully covered by my employer’s insurance. My employer is switching our health insurance to a health savings account in 2012. You cannot contribute to a HSA if you have Medicare Part A. I have Medicare Part A. Should I drop Part A, to enroll in the HSA, or will I be penalized later when I retire and re-enroll in Part A?

A. I don’t know if it makes sense for you to disenroll from Medicare Part A. Before you decide, you need to understand a few things. First, if your employer contribution to your company HSA isn’t more than you would earn from Social Security, you may want to keep your Medicare Part A coverage. Second, because you have already turned 65, if you disenroll from Medicare Part A, you would have to pay back all of the money you received from Social Security, as well as any Medicare benefits that were paid on your behalf. To disenroll, fill out Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) form 1763 (Request for Termination of Premium Hospital and Medical Insurance) and mail to your local Social Security Administration office. You can re-enroll at any time by calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 or visiting your local SSA office.


About Author

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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