Medicare is a Federal health insurance program for people age 65 or older and certain disabled people. There are two parts to the Medicare program. One part is Hospital Insurance (also called Part A) and the other part is Medical Insurance (also called Part B).
Medicare Part A helps pay for inpatient hospital care, inpatient care in a skilled nursing facility following a hospital stay, home health care and hospice care. You do not pay a premium for Part A coverage.
Medicare Part B helps pay for doctors' services, outpatient hospital care, diagnostic tests, durable medical equipment, ambulance services and many other health services and supplies that are not covered by Medicare Part A. If you are receiving a monthly payment from the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB), your premium will be deducted from that monthly payment. If you are not receiving a monthly payment or if your monthly payment is not large enough to cover the premium, you will be billed for the premium. If you wish to terminate your Part B coverage, advise the RRB in writing.
You are eligible for Medicare if you are age 65 or over and receive or could receive a monthly railroad retirement annuity. If you are under age 65, you can get Medicare if you are rated disabled under the Social Security Act and have received a monthly railroad retirement annuity for 24 months. If you receive monthly payments, you will automatically be enrolled for Medicare at the appropriate time. If you are not receiving a monthly payment, contact the RRB about filing for Medicare.
If you decline Part B coverage when you are first eligible or terminate your Part B coverage, you will not have another chance to enroll until the next general enrollment period, unless you qualify for a special enrollment period. You may also be charged a penalty for late enrollment unless you are covered under an employer group health plan.
If you are under age 65 and you are receiving a monthly payment which is not based on disability and you become disabled, contact the RRB about filing for disability Medicare.
For more information about Medicare call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) 24 hours a day, for automated options, or browse our Medicare Publications.