If you are age 65 or older, you or your spouse are still working and you are covered under a group health plan based on that current employment, you may not need to apply for Medicare medical insurance (Part B) at age 65. You may qualify for a "Special Enrollment Period" (SEP) that will let you sign up for Part B:

  • During any month you remain covered under the group health plan and your, or your spouse's, current employment continues; or

  • In the eight-month period that begins with the month after your group health plan coverage or the current employment it is based on ends, whichever comes first.

    Exception: If your group health plan coverage or the employment it is based on ends during your initial enrollment period for Medicare Part B, you do not qualify for a SEP. Your initial enrollment period starts three months before the month you attain age 65 and ends three months after the month you turn 65.

  • If your group health plan coverage is based on severance or retirement pay and the job your coverage is based on ended in the last eight months.

Note: COBRA and retiree health plans aren't considered coverage based on current employment. If you have that type of coverage, you will not be eligible for a SEP when it ends. To avoid paying a higher premium, make sure you sign up for Medicare when you are first eligible.

People who receive Social Security disability benefits and are covered under a group health plan from either their own or a family member's current employment also have a special enrollment period and premium rights similar to those for workers age 65 or older.

If you want to know more about enrollment periods for Part B, please read the information about general and special enrollment periods in the "Signing up for Medicare" section of our "Medicare" booklet or talk to your personnel office.