I have union insurance. Will I need Medicare Part B?


Q. I’m 61 years old and have been on Social Security disability for about four years now. I have $148.50 a month taken out for Medicare Part B. I also have supplemental insurance from my union and I’m enrolled in the retiree program for no cost. When I turn 65, do I still have to pay for Part B?
— Confused

A. There are two different issues you need to consider here.

First, you should be eligible for Medicare Parts A and B after being on Social Security disability for 24 months, said Ken Van Leeuwen, a certified financial planner with Van Leeuwen & Company in Princeton.

Once eligible, you may enroll into the Medicare program.

If you are currently covered under Medicare Part A before age 65 due to disability, you will also be eligible to enroll in Part B, he said.

“It may not be necessary for you to continue the Part B coverage if you currently have access to health insurance through the union,” he said. “If the union insurance plan does not currently cover you and you have to wait until 65, then you should keep Part A and B until the age 65.”

Once you turn 65 and the union covers your medical insurance, then you may elect to drop your Part B coverage, Van Leeuwen said. This can be done by contacting the local Social Security office and having an interview with one of the Social Security agents.

You should make sure the union plan doesn’t require you to keep Part B, though, so contact the union to go over the specifics of the plan before you make a decision.

“If the union is taking the place of your Part B coverage, then you should see the cost difference reflected back into the Social Security checks,” he said.

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This story was originally published on Sept. 7, 2021. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.