Enrolling in Social Security
The Social Security Administration through ssa.gov helps you prepare for retirement (beginning to collect Social Security), by providing the information you need to make an informed decision. Social Security’s website offers tools that make you aware of the possibilities available:
- There is a Retirement Estimator that provides estimates based on your actual Social Security earnings record. You can plug in different numbers, retirement dates, and scenarios to help you decide the best time to begin to collect your benefits.
- Retirement Planners helps you find the ideal retirement age and estimate life expectancy and the amount of your benefits when you begin to collect. You are able to see what the financial effect of retiring at different ages will be, and how various earning amounts will affect future benefits.
Medicare is managed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Social Security works with CMS by enrolling people in Medicare. The Medicare section of the Social Security Administration website provides information about the Medicare program and answers general questions on Medicare and applying for Medicare.
Medicare has four parts:
- Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) helps pay for inpatient care in a hospital or skilled nursing facility (following a hospital stay). Part A also pays for some home health care, and hospice care. Part A is typically free if certain requirements are met. Please refer to the Social Security Website for these requirements.
- Medicare Part B (medical insurance) helps pay for services from doctors and other health care providers, outpatient care, home health care, durable medical equipment, and some preventive services. There is a cost associated with this premium. Please refer to the Social Security Website for the premium information.
- Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage plans) are available in many areas. People with Medicare Parts A and B can choose to receive all their health care services through a private insurance company approved by Medicare to provide this coverage.
- Medicare Part D (Medicare prescription drug coverage) helps cover the cost of prescription drugs.
When applying for Medicare, you can sign up for Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medical Insurance). If you decide to delay enrolling in Part B, you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty for as long as you have Part B coverage. The monthly premium will go up 10 percent for each 12-month period you were eligible for Part B, but didn’t sign up for it (unless you qualify for a special enrollment period). If you’re eligible at age 65, your initial enrollment period begins three months before your 65th birthday, includes the month you turn age 65, and ends three months after that birthday. However, if you don’t enroll in Medicare Part B during your initial enrollment period, you have another chance each year to sign up during a “general enrollment period” from January 1 through March 31. Your coverage begins on July 1 of the year you enroll.
Medicare And The New York State Health Insurance Program (NYSHIP)
Medicare and NYSHIP
Upon turning 65, Medicare is primary to NYSHIP for you or your covered dependent(s) who are eligible to enroll in Medicare. NYSHIP requires you and your eligible covered dependents to be enrolled in Medicare when it is primary to NYSHIP.
It is YOUR responsibility to enroll in Medicare Parts A and B when first eligible for primary Medicare coverage. Enrollment is not automatic in all cases.
The New York State Department of Civil Service Employee Benefits Division sends out a reminder to help you understand the importance of enrolling in Medicare, i.e.; a Happy 65th Birthday Letter approximately five months before you or a spouse/domestic partner turns 65, whether you are active or retired which includes a brochure/DVD entitled Medicare and NYSHIP.
Enrollment in Additional Medicare Plans
Medicare allows enrollment in only one Medicare product at a time. Therefore, enrolling in a Medicare Part D plan, a Medicare Advantage plan, or other Medicare product in addition to your NYSHIP coverage may drastically reduce your benefits overall. This includes Medicare products that you or your covered dependents may be enrolled in through another employer (your and your spouse’s).
IRMAA (Income Monthly Related Adjustment Amount)
Every January, NYSHIP sends out a notice regarding the reimbursement of the Medicare Part B Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA). IRMAA is assessed by Medicare to individual income tax filers with a Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) of more than $87,000 per year, and married income tax filers with MAGI of more than $174,000 per year (new thresholds effective 1/1/20). If you did not receive the letter and the reimbursement application, you can visit the Department of Civil Service website at www.cs.ny.gov to download the form and submit it to the NYSHIP.
Retirees of Participating Agencies enrolled in the NYSHIP
Under NYSHIP rules, your former employer must reimburse you and/or your Medicare primary dependent the standard Medicare Part B premium and any IRMAA you must pay for Part B. Medicare reimbursement practices vary from employer to employer. Check with your former employer to find out how it handles the Medicare Part B reimbursement and IRMAA.