Medicare Basic Information

Starting Medicare Benefits

  • If you are not currently receiving Social Security retirement benefits, you should sign up for Medicare Plans (A & B) approximately 3 months prior to your retirement.
  • If you are receiving Social Security benefits when you turn 65, you are already qualified, and Part A (Hospital Insurance) starts automatically.
  • Part B (Medical Insurance) is an optional program with a monthly cost. Almost anyone who is eligible for Part A can sign up for Part B. link to special enrollment period.
  • Part C (Medicare Advantage Plans) is another optional program that requires your enrollment in both Parts A and B. You might have to pay an additional monthly premium for Part C because of the extra benefits the Medicare Advantage plan offers.
  • Part D (Prescription Drug Plan) is available to anyone who has Parts A and B, or Part C. This prescription insurance is also optional, and an additional monthly premium is required for the coverage. If you don't enroll in Part D when you are first eligible, you may pay a penalty to enroll at a later date, unless you are enrolled in an employer based plan that provides "creditable coverage" like Baylor does.
  • If you apply for Medicare enrollment online, you may want to indicate that you do not wish to enroll in Medicare Part B at this time if you are currently employed full-time with medical benefits (there should be a comment box on the online form).
  • Enroll by contacting the Social Security Administration at
  • If you are currently enrolled in a medical plan outside of the Baylor medical plan, you would contact the administrator of your plan to confirm their requirements of your enrollment in Medicare.

Medicare "Creditable Coverage"

Medicare requires employer-sponsored plans to conduct evaluations based on specific criteria to determine if the prescription drug benefit provided is at least as good as the benefit provided under Medicare Part D. If the employer sponsored coverage is at least as good as the Part D benefit, it's considered "creditable coverage."

Baylor's evaluations, according to Medicare guidelines, indicate that Baylor’s prescription drug coverage with CVS/caremark is "creditable coverage."

Medicare Enrollment Penalties

You must enroll in the Medicare plans (A and B) if you/spouse are age 65+ when you retire. Medicare allows an 8-month special enrollment period to allow enrollment without penalty beginning with your retirement date. Medicare becomes your primary insurance carrier the first day of the month following your retirement from Baylor.

To learn more about Medicare penalties, visit

Social Security Benefits

We encourage those eligible for Social Security benefits to contact the Social Security Administration Office for your area AND to visit the official Social Security website below.

United States Social Security government website

Additional Resources