Employee and Retiree Service Center → Retirees → Benefits for MCPS Retirees → Health Benefits → Medical Plans→ Medicare
Information on this page is valid through December 31, 2017. For benefit details and changes effective January 1, 2018, please visit our 2018 Retiree Benefits web page.
Montgomery County Public Schools requires all participants in MCPS retiree benefits to enroll in Medicare Parts A and B when first eligible for Medicare in order to maintain medical and prescription benefits through MCPS.
If you do not enroll in Medicare Parts A and B as required, your MCPS medical and prescription benefits will be terminated.
This page will acquaint you with Medicare and tell you the specific steps you need to take to apply for Medicare coverage so that you don’t risk losing your MCPS benefits. You will find these steps under "Take Action" below. They include the requirement that you send a copy of your Medicare card with Parts A and B to the Employee and Retiree Service Center (ERSC) at least 60 days prior to the effective date of your Medicare coverage.
What is Medicare?
Medicare is the U.S. federal government health insurance program. Medicare helps to pay for health-related expenses such as hospital stays, doctors’ visits, and more.
Medicare is divided into three main parts:
- Part A provides hospitalization coverage
- No premium (generally)
- Enroll when first Medicare-eligible
- Part B provides standard medical coverage
- Premium paid to the Social Security Administration
- Enroll when first Medicare-eligible (unless you are covered under an active employee health plan)
- If you and/or dependent are covered under the MCPS active employee health plan, enrollment in Medicare Part B may be deferred until you retire.
- Part D provides prescription coverage
The MCPS-sponsored prescription plans for Medicare-eligible individuals are Part D prescription plans:
- SilverScript/Caremark Medicare Part D prescription plan
- Kaiser Permanente Medicare Part D prescription plan (for individuals enrolled in Kaiser medical only)
More detailed information about Medicare and the type of coverage provided by each different part, please visit the Medicare website.
Eligibility for Medicare Coverage
You and/or your dependent(s) are eligible for Medicare if you are:
- age 65 (or over if you have been employed and covered by the MCPS active employee health plan), or
- receive disability benefits from the Social Security Administration and are beginning the twenty-fifth month of entitlement, or
- have End-Stage-Renal Disease (ESRD).
An individual is eligible for Medicare the first day of the month you turn 65 if you have not qualified for enrollment before the age of 65. If you will be 65 on the first day of the month, you will be eligible for Medicare the first day of the previous month.
Medicare and Your MCPS Medical Benefits
When you enroll in Medicare Parts A and B, your Medicare coverage becomes primary and your MCPS coverage becomes secondary.
Your MCPS monthly coverage premium will also be reduced to reflect the conversion of MCPS to secondary coverage. Please refer to the Retiree Benefit Summary for current premium rates with Medicare.
Medicare and Your MCPS Prescription Benefits
Enrollment in two Medicare Part D plans is not permitted for a retiree and/or dependent who has MCPS-sponsored prescription coverage.
Don’t risk losing your MCPS benefits! Begin the process of applying for Medicare Parts A and B at least three months prior to your eligibility.
Here are the steps to follow when applying for Medicare:
- At least three months prior to your Medicare eligibility date, call the Social Security Administration (1-800-772-1213) or visit the local Social Security office to begin your application process.
- Request a Social Security Administration (SSA) benefit verification letter from SSA.
- You will receive your Medicare card with Parts A & B in approximately six weeks.
- Send a copy of the SSA benefit verification letter or Medicare card with Parts A and B to ERSC at least 60 days prior to your Medicare coverage effective date.
- Complete the necessary medical forms to switch your primary coverage to Medicare and to maintain your secondary MCPS coverage. These forms will be mailed to you by the ERSC Medicare specialist approximately 3 months before you turn age 65.
Medicare and Cigna
Retirees and dependents enrolled in medical benefits through Cigna need only submit their Medicare card with Parts A and B to ERSC. No additional documentation is required.
Medicare and Kaiser Permanente HMO
Retirees and dependents enrolled in medical benefits through Kaiser Permanente must submit the Kaiser Permanente application (PDF) directly to Kaiser Permanente.
Medicare and CareFirst BlueChoice
Retirees and dependents enrolled in medical benefits through CareFirst BlueChoice should receive a coordination of benefits form directly from CareFirst. Contact CareFirst for additional information.