Medicare or private insurance when disabled


Q. I am 60 and planned on working until 72, but I developed a serious spinal disease that has disabled me. I have applied for and will receive disability (I just learned today); am I required to apply for Medicare even though I am covered by my wife’s Blue Cross plan (she is a teacher and will be for about five more years)? If, on the other hand, I have an option to retain my plan or apply for Medicare, what should I do?

A. Since you have already paid for Medicare Part A coverage through payroll deductions while employed, it would make sense to apply for it. After all, it’s free. And it will complement your FEHB coverage. Whether you should apply for Part B is up to you, based on an examination of the benefits and cost.


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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