Medicare is a federal health care plan available to persons who are disabled or age 65 or older. U-M requires all retirees who are Medicare-eligible and their eligible dependents to enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B when first eligible. 

Medicare is also available for people who have been entitled to Social Security disability benefits for 24 months, or have end-stage renal disease (permanent kidney failure).

Failure to enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B when first eligible will result in disenrollment from your U-M retiree health plan.

Medicare is directed by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Local Social Security Administration offices take applications for Medicare.

Medicare and Medicare Advantage

Three options of enhanced Medicare Advantage Plans are available for Medicare-eligible retirees and survivors. Enrollment in a Medicare Advantage plan requires enrollment in Medicare, which includes a monthly premium for Part B that is deducted from your Social Security check. 

In addition, you will be responsible for paying monthly premiums to U-M for the Medicare Advantage plan.

When to Enroll in Medicare

If You Retire at Age 65 or Older... 

If you and your spouse are age 65 or older at the time of retirement, you must apply for Medicare before the end of the month in which you retire (or the end of the previous month, if your retirement starts on the first of the month).

U-M's Shared Services Contact Center (SSC) will provide a confirmation notice of your retirement date to take to your local Social Security Office to verify your eligibility to enroll in Medicare.

EXAMPLE: If you are 65 or older and retire in January, apply for Medicare parts A and B no later than Jan. 31 to start receiving Medicare benefits on Feb. 1. 

If You Retire Before Age 65... 

If you and/or your covered dependents are receiving Social Security income benefits by age 65, you will automatically be notified and enrolled in Medicare parts A and B by the U.S. Social Security Administration. Coverage will begin the first day of the month in which 65th birthday occurs.

If you are already retired, and are not receiving Social Security benefits, you must complete an application to enroll in Medicare. Plan to complete an enrollment form approximately 90 days before your 65th birthday. On the first day of the month that you turn 65 (or the first of the previous month, if your birthday falls on the first of the month). Call (800) 772-1213 or (800) 325-0778 (TTY/TTD) to schedule an appointment with a Social Security counselor at an office near you, or to request enrollment forms by mail.

EXAMPLE: If you are younger than 65 (birthday in June) and already retired, apply for Medicare parts A and B three months before your 65th birthday (March). Medicare and Your U-M Health/Prescription Drug Plans

On the first of the month you become eligible for Medicare Part A and Part B, you must enroll in order to keep your U-M health and prescription drug coverage. If you are eligible for coverage elsewhere and are not enrolling in Medicare parts A and B, your U-M health plan coverage will be discontinued.

In limited circumstances, you may be eligible to re-enroll in U-M health coverage, if you can prove requirements such as involuntary loss of comparable coverage and/or Medicare parts A and B enrollment.

Failure to Enroll in Medicare

Retirees and their dependents must enroll in Medicare benefits when first eligible. If you or a dependent who is eligible for Medicare fail to enroll when first eligible, you will continue to pay a higher monthly premium for your health coverage through the university and risk having U-M coverage terminated. CMS may charge a penalty for late Medicare enrollment of 10% per year for each year you could have been enrolled.

Medicare Enrollment Periods and Deadlines

To learn more about Medicare enrollment periods and deadlines, go to the Medicare coverage page.

Reminder: The university requires enrollment in Medicare when you first become eligible. Medicare defines enrollment periods that are longer than what is required by U-M.

Medicare-Eligible OQAs

Other Qualified Adults (OQAs) of active employees must enroll in Medicare parts A and B when they first become eligible (due to disability or age). 

OQAs, regardless of the employee’s employment status, will be enrolled in the Medicare Advantage plan associated with the employee’s health plan.

Re-Employment at U-M

After enrolling in Medicare, if you return to active employment in a benefits-eligible position with the university or you become eligible for benefits under Employer Shared Responsibility (ESR), U-M will again provide active employee coverage for you, your spouse, and other enrolled dependents during your period of active employment. The only exception is for emeritus faculty, who maintain retiree status and coverage through Medicare Advantage. 

If You Live or Plan to Move Outside the U.S.

Medicare Advantage does not cover services received in foreign countries. If you decline Medicare Part B because you plan to move abroad, but later decide to return to the U.S., CMS may charge a penalty of 10% per year, for each year you could have been enrolled, for late Medicare enrollment.

Your choices are:

  • Complete a Medicare Advantage exception form and pay a higher premium for your health coverage through the university.

  • Cancel your coverage and be eligible for a one-time reinstatement when you show proof of your Medicare parts A and B enrollment, and demonstrate continuous coverage since the time you canceled your university health plan. 

The health plan must offer the same scope of benefits and equivalent cost sharing for medical and prescription drug benefits as U-M’s Comprehensive Major Medical (CMM) plan, but benefits do not have to be exactly the same.

Helpful Resources

U-M Shared Services Contact Center (SSC)
(734) 615-2000 locally
(866) 647-7657 toll-free
TTY/TDD: Dial 711; ask the operator to connect you to the SSC Contact Center at (734) 615-2000.

The Shared Services Center is open Monday - Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Eastern Time.

U.S. Social Security Administration
(800) 772-1213
(800) 325-0778 TTY/TDD

(800) 633-4227
(800) 486-2048 TTY/TDD is a secure way for you to access your personal Medicare-related information. 

With, you can:

  • View your Medicare claims as soon as they’re processed.

  • See a calendar of current and upcoming preventive services.

  • View and print your Medicare card.