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social security question - especially Medicare

I'm 64, will be 65 March 1...recently, I was notified I'd need to sign up for Medicare - ok - made an appoint with the SS office...explained I am still working - I'm a high school English teacher - and my ss retirement age is 66. They said, ok - then all you need is Part A until you retire.

Then, yesterday, I got a letter from Ss in Richmond, Calif, telling me I HAD until May, 2018 to sign up for Part B.

WTF? WHY? I have insurance, and you're going to FORCE me to pay for this?

Can anyone tell me anything about this crazy system?

14 Replies

Great information! Thank you!


My secondary insurance is My wifes teacher insurance, We are both on medicare , and we both have Part A and Part B medicare. I would call Medicare and also your teacher insurance , Probally the teacher insurance first, to see what they want you to do. Being on medicare the teacher insurance is secondary ,and at a reduced rate. I believe when on medicare , Medicare is your primary.

For us when we went on medicare the teacher insurance told us we needed to carry part B with medicare, I would call the teacher insurance and see what they want you to do.


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If you wait until later and you need it, I think they raise the price.




My wife and I both worked for SSA for over 30 years. She still gives seminars on SSA and Medicare. I’ll try to keep this succinct and concise. You should always file for Part A at age 65 (your IEP) even if you are still working. There’s no reason not to. There are no monthly premiums for Part A.

You said you had insurance, but didn’t say whether it was an individual policy or under an employer group health plan. The distinction matters. You cannot be forced to file for Part B...ever, but there may be consequences in terms of coverage dates and premium surcharges if you do not file in your IEP (initial enrollment period) or an SEP (special enrollment period). You do not need to file for Part B during your IEP at age 65 provided that you (or your spouse) are STILL WORKING and you have health insurance coverage under your/her employer’s group health plan or union plan.

Assuming that your current health insurance is under an employer group health plan, you can tell SSA that you (or your spouse) is still working, AND that have health insurance coverage under your/her employer’s (or union) group health insurance plan, and refuse Part B during your IEP.

Then, when you do retire, ( or your spouse retires if you are covered under her health insurance plan), or the group health plan terminates (whichever comes first), you are entitled to a special enrollment period (SEP). To avoid any lapse in coverage you should file for Part B shortly before then. At that time you will need to submit a form to SSA to file for Part B, AND your employer will need to provide SSA with evidence of the date your employer group health coverage terminates.

If you do that, there will be no delay in initiating your Part B coverage, and no premium surcharge.

Google CMS.gov for more detailed info. There are also other websites that provide good examples of how the process works.

So much for being succinct. Hope this helps. Good luck to you.


This helps plenty - I've done as you've instructed - my birthdate is March 1, when I'll be 65 - so, I called about enrollment in Medicare BEFORE December 1st - the 3-month date to enroll, made an appointment during my winter break, to speak with a representative in person - was assured because I DO have insurance via a group plan at school I did NOT have to enroll in Part B - and, then, suddenly, from Richmond, Calif, comes a decree I must enroll by May 1st and begin paying??? Sounds like I need to write letters -


It sounds like you are on the right track, and have done your homework. Well done! I would trust in the SSA Rep you talked with, but (just for your own peace of mind) touch base with him/her again. I know it’s a major hassle getting through to SSA, and quite frankly, the SSA toll free number isn’t very helpful or reliable other than to set up appointments. If at all possible, try to deal with someone at your local SSA office. They are the best source of accurate information. I have been retired from SSA for over 9 years, but I think most offices will now schedule appointmentsto help you minimize time off work.

The letter you received, if it’s from Richmond, is likely from the Western Program Service Center (WNPSC). Like most of those letters, it was almost certainly computer generated, based solely on information from your SSA record. Unfortunately, SSA hasn’t done much of anything to make them more accurate or understandable. They are confusing and sometimes misleading. Also, SSA computers don’t have any information about your current health insurance coverage.

Letters you write to SSA often take a long time to reach someone who can respond to them.

If your local SSA Rep tells you to disregard the letter, you should be very safe in doing so. But, please do recontact your local office.

Good luck to you on your journey.

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There is a 10% penalty if you fail to apply for Medicare Part B when you are eligible, but that is waived if you are covered by employer’s insurance up to the point you transition to Medicare. When you do transition, there is a form you need to file for a Special Enrollment Period so that your benefit will start within 30 days as opposed to the start standard schedule. I went thru this last year. They initially charged me the penalty but they fixed it. Your employer needs to verify that you were covered up to that point.

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so many hassles in life.

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Hi, ....My name is Lynn, I 'm posting things on behalf of my husband who suffers with stage four prostrate cancer. For almost ten years now, I just don't get our health care system at all, we finally added part D to our Medicare plan and it actually hurt us. When my husband was on Zytaga we were able to get it for free. Added part D and we were goi g to have to pay a void amount. Long story short the Zytaga didn't work so the dr. Had him stop taking it. it

Now we just dropped part D. I can't answer your question I'm not really that up how the system works. ?? You got it right the system is crazy!!!

Hang in there, best wishes!!


yes, I agree - best wishes.



Dealing with the SS admin is like kissing your ex-wife..... Not a pleasant experience...

Good Luck and Good Health.

j-o-h-n Monday 01/08/2018 7:36 PM EST


John Spinosa,

The social security office is impossible to deal with over the phone unless you are talking to your local office. By far the best results are going in and sitting down and talking to them. I have yet to have any problem with the people working in my local office. They have always been helpful, courteous, friendly and professional towards me. Have your questions written down so you don't forget anything. Remember they don't make the rules and can't change them for you or anyone else. Treat them like you want to be treated and they will help you if they can. I have gotten a call from them at home asking me to come back in because there may be a way around my problem. I can guarantee you if I got mad and loud with them they never would have called me.



I've been in once, and they were very helpful, very understanding - so, yes, that's the ticket.


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