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If you have other health insurance

Medicare hospital insurance is free for almost everyone, but you do pay a monthly premium for medical insurance. If you already have other health insurance when you become eligible for Medicare, is it worth the monthly premium cost to sign up for Medicare medical insurance?

The answer varies with each person and the kind of other health insurance you may have. Although we cannot give you "yes" or "no" answers, we can offer a few tips that may be helpful when you make your decision.

If you have a private insurance plan

Get in touch with your insurance agent to see how your private plan fits with Medicare medical insurance. This is especially important if you have family members who are covered under the same policy. And remember, just as Medicare does not cover all health services, most private plans do not either. In planning your health insurance coverage, keep in mind that most nursing home care is not covered by Medicare or private health insurance policies. One important word of caution: for your own protection, do not cancel any health insurance you now have until your Medicare coverage actually begins.

If you have insurance from an employer-provided group health plan

Group health plans of employers with 20 or more employees are required by law to offer workers and their spouses who are age 65 (or older) the same health benefits that are provided to younger employees.

If you are currently covered under an employer provided group health plan, you should talk to your personnel office before you sign up for Medicare medical insurance.

If you have health care protection from other plans

If you have coverage under a program from the Department of Defense, your health benefits may change or end when you become eligible for Medicare. You should contact the Department of Defense or a military health benefits advisor for information before you decide whether to enroll in Medicare medical insurance.

If you have health care protection from the Indian Health Service, Department of Veterans Affairs or a state medical assistance program, contact the people in those offices to help you decide whether it is to your advantage to have Medicare medical insurance.

For more information on how other health insurance plans work with Medicare call the Medicare toll-free number 1-800-MEDICARE(1-800-633-4227) and ask for Medicare And Other Health Benefits: Your Guide To Who Pays First (Publication No. CMS-02179) or visit If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you may call TTY 1-877-486-2048.



There are 6 Comments

how does one correct a problem of non coverage by private insurer BCBS teminating primary coverage..I am on disabilty had medicare A since 2006, when I turned 62 last feburary BCBS terminated me as primary..but I didn't have medicare B at the time. (had previously been told didn't need it by medicare persons, because of BCBS coverage).applied for medicare B in March (told would be retroactive) when all the bills started to come back not paid..took till december for medicare to finally approve ..but did not do it retroactive started this december, leaving no coverage for any medical bills incurred from 2010

If one is employed but without group health benefits and signs up for Medicare, but later takes a job WITH medical benefits, can one suspend the Medicare payments while the employment lasts?

In the case I am considering, one spouse is already registered (and paying for) Medicare and a supplement, but the other is too young for Medicare.

Therefore, it made sense to accept the group health care benefits from the new company. But then the couple is paying for both their portion of the group benefits AND the quarterly Medicare payment.

Can one suspend Medicare for the duration of the employment?

(Frankly, it's still cheaper than one paying individual-healthcare plan rates and the other paying only Medicare plus a supplement, but one tries to save where one can.)

Sorry, we don't specialize in Medicare on this site, and I couldn't find anything regarding suspending Medicare coverage.

I lost my job in January and am presently receiving severance pay and company insurance. As far as insurance goes I am receiving the same cost/coverage as an active employee until December, 2013. I turn 65 on November 4, 2013 but I do not need Medicare coverage until January 1, 2014. When should I apply for Medicare A and B to make sure my coverage begins day 1 of January 2014 and so as not to pay any penalty for signing up for Medicare late? Some are telling me I need to sign up for A now even if I don't sign up for B. Getting confusing for me. Thanks for any help you can offer.


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