Medicare sign-up


Q. I received my Social Security statement today. I will turn 65 in June. The statement states I need to enroll in Medicare before my 65th birthday. I currently have health insurance through my employer and also through my husband as one of his retirement benefits. I do not expect to retire for some time, and my husband’s insurance is in effect until I die. Is it really necessary for me to enroll in Medicare? What problems might I have once I retire and want Medicare at that time?

A. You don’t need to immediately enroll in Medicare Part A, although you may want to because there isn’t any cost to you. On the other hand, because you are covered under a group health plan, you can postpone enrolling in Medicare Part B until that coverage is close to ending. Then you can enroll during the eight-month period that begins the first full month that you are no longer covered based on your current employment. The decision about enrolling in Medicare Part B will depend on whether the benefits you will receive now and in the future are worth the cost of the premiums. You’ll have to do a little research to figure that out.


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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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