To keep your Tricare coverage, sign up for parts A and B of Medicare during your seven-month initial enrollment period unless you’re among the small number of people who aren’t eligible for premium-free Part A. If you are eligible for Part A, you must get Part B to continue receiving Tricare benefits. There’s another exception: If you or your spouse still serve on active duty, you don’t have to enroll in Part B. However, you must enroll in Part B before the active-duty service member retires to avoid a break in coverage.
If you have VA health care benefits and no other coverage, sign up for parts A and B of Medicare within those seven months so you’ll have coverage for non-VA doctors and hospitals. However, if you work for a company with 20 or more employees and are covered through your employer, you can opt not to sign up for Part B to avoid paying the monthly premiums. If you do delay, it’s important to sign up for Part B before or within eight months of leaving your job and losing your coverage as an active employee to avoid a late-enrollment penalty.
If you’re already receiving Social Security benefits, you’ll be enrolled automatically in parts A and B of Medicare at the beginning of the month you turn 65 or, if your birthday is on the first day of a month, during the previous month. (Puerto Rico’s rules differ.) If you aren’t receiving Social Security, sign up for parts A and B of Medicare within your initial enrollment period to avoid higher premiums.
Either way, you’ll still have decisions to make on other parts of Medicare. We can help guide you through the process so you won’t have gaps in coverage or face penalties.