Q. I’m turning 65 years old in a few months, and I’m not sure what to do about Medicare. Do I have to enroll or will that happen automatically?

A. If you are already receiving Social Security benefits when you reach 65, you’ll automatically be enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B. If you don’t want to be covered by Part B and pay the associated premiums, you can refuse that coverage.

On the other hand, if you aren’t receiving Social Security benefits when you reach age 65, you won’t automatically be enrolled in Medicare. You’ll have to file an application to receive them. Social Security will bill you quarterly for Part B, and also Part A if you haven’t earned enough credits to be insured.


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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


  1. I’m a CSRS Retiree & with Kaiser Permenente. I signed up with Medicare & received my card from Social Security saying I’m covered under parts A&B. I just sent in my first check for $345 for Sept, Oct & Nov. do I still pay KP the $120 a month for health care or will that monthly withdrawal stop automatically from my retirement check. If not who do I call to stop this payment?

    • The monthly premiums for Kaiser Permanente will continue to be deducted from your annuity as long as you are enrolled in that plan. If you want to cancel your enrollment, you can do that under Qualified Life Event 2L. To do that, call OPM’s Retirement Services office at 1-888-767-6738.

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