Congratulations on your retirement!

In the situation you have described you and your spouse have slightly different situations. You both can keep the retiree health insurance, but your spouse has an extra step.

In the situation where an individual is eligible for Medicare and their health insurance is a retiree benefit, they MUST sign up for Medicare Part A & B.

If your spouse is collecting Social Security (SS), they already have Medicare Part A. Whenever an individual collects SS benefits they already have Medicare Part A, they may not realize it, but they have it. You cannot decline Medicare Part A if you collect SS. If this is your spouse’s situation they must sign up for Medicare Part B.

If your spouse is not collecting SS benefits they need to contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) to request that their Medicare Part A be started. This can be done by logging onto the website and creating a login and password. Once completed your spouse can sign up for Medicare Part A relatively easily. Creating the login and password will be more complex than most websites, but that added security is important to your financial security. If they don’t want to use the website, you can call or go to the local SSA office to sign up for Medicare Part A only. This can take a bit of time, so don’t put this off or delay getting started.

The process for signing up for Medicare Part B involves two forms, the CMS 40B and the CMS L564. The first, the CMS 40B is a form which your spouse would complete. This form simply requests that Medicare Part B be started. It does ask for the Medicare ID number, and if your spouse doesn’t know what that is, he could call SSA (877-319-3079-Jamestown) or go to SSA (321 Hazeltine Ave. Jamestown) to get that number. When completing this form he should also indicate when he wants the Medicare Part B to begin. Medicare always starts the first of the month, so it could be July 1, or August 1 or September 1, depending on your retirement date. He would not want a gap in coverage.

The second form, CMS L564 is completed by the employer that provided the health insurance you have. On form L564, your spouse only completes the boxes 4, 5, 6 & 7. Then the CMS L564 is taken to the employer who provided the health insurance. The Human Resource staff will complete the remainder of the form.

Once completed, both forms CMS 40B and CMS L564 are delivered to the SSA office either in person or via fax for processing. This is how to get the Medicare Part B started in a timely manner. You can turn these forms in up to 90 days prior to needing the coverage, but time is ticking away, so don’t delay.

SSA staff will process these forms, call you with any questions and then issue your spouse a new Medicare card. One which includes both Medicare Part A & B.

This new Medicare card will be important to keep safe. Your spouse will also have retiree health insurance options that could be different from your options. That is important to evaluate. Up to this point you have both had the same insurance product that was tied to your employment. Your retiree health benefits can continue, but your options (with and without Medicare) are different. Now you could have different insurance products because you are retired and the choices are different.

Again, Congratulations on your retirement. New adventures await both of you, as you step into the next exciting phase of your life!