Who is eligible?
Medicare is a health insurance program for:
- people age 65 or older,
- people under age 65 with certain disabilities, and
- people with end-stage renal disease (ESRD)
Although the age for full Social Security payments has increased, the age for Medicare entitlement has not changed; it continues to be age 65.
If you already receive benefits from Social Security, you will automatically receive Part A and be enrolled in Part B starting the first day of the month you turn 65.
If you have not filed for Social Security, you must file for Part A and enroll in Part B. You must enroll in Part B during your Medicare Initial Enrollment Period (seven-month period that begins three months before you turn 65, includes the month of your birthday, and ends three months after you turn 65) to avoid the Medicare surcharge for late enrollment.
All TRICARE beneficiaries must enroll in Medicare upon gaining Medicare eligibility in order to retain TRICARE/TRICARE for Life coverage.
If a TRICARE beneficiary chooses not to enroll in Medicare during their initial enrollment period, or to disenroll from Part B at a later date or stop paying their Part B premiums- their TRICARE/TFL coverage will be suspended until Medicare enrollment is established. TFL will not make any payments during which time a beneficiary is eligible for but not enrolled in Medicare Part B.
What does it cost?
There are no costs associated with Medicare Part A, but there are monthly premiums for Medicare Part B which are based on income.
For detailed cost information on Medicare programs, go to this Medicare page: https://www.medicare.gov/your-medicare-costs/part-b-costs/part-b-costs.html
How does it work?
You must enroll in Medicare Parts A and B. If you are already receiving Social Security, you will be automatically enrolled. If you are not receiving SSA benefits, you will receive an application packet and you must enroll during your initial enrollment period. This window is three months before your birthday, the month of, and three months after your 65th birthday.
Your Medicare coverage begins on the first day of the month that you turn 65 and delaying enrollment will also delay coverage.
If you miss the initial enrollment period, you cannot enroll in Medicare until open enrollment, and you will be charged a penalty.
If you are working and have employer-sponsored healthcare, you can delay enrollment without incurring a penalty.