Don't fall victim to the Medicare Part B trap. Many NYSID-DFS employees who retire in their mid-50s begin working for other employers while covered under their New York State retiree health insurance coverage. When such a person turns 65 he needs to file for Medicare Part B (doctor visits and other outpatient services) between the three months preceding his birthday month and the three months following his birthday month (a 7-month time period).

When an employed person who is receiving his health care benefits through a former employer such as New York State enrolls in Part B, Medicare becomes primarily responsible for the costs of doctor visits. The employed person's New York State coverage becomes secondary.

Only an employed person who is still working for the employer that provides his current health insurance coverage does not have to file for Part B because that employer's coverage is primary for doctor visits. Thus, a current Department of Financial Services (DFS) employee who receives health insurance coverage through the DFS need not apply for Medicare Part B when she turns 65 (provided she is still working and covered by DFS at age 65).

However, A DFS employee who has retired from the DFS, but is working elsewhere (and receiving health insurance through the DFS) MUST file during the 7-month window when she turns 65 in order to receive coverage for physician visits and other outpatient services. She would also be responsible for paying the Part B premium.

By failing to enroll in Part B in a timely manner, this NYSID retiree would be responsible for the costs of physician visits until she can enroll during the annual enrollment period (currently January- March). Her coverage under Part B, however, would not begin until July 1, 2013 and she could be subject to a financial penalty for failing to file in a timely manner.

For example, let's say a retired NYSID employer is currently working in the private sector, but his health insurance coverage is through New York State. He turned 65 on June 1, 2012 but failed to enroll in Part B during his 7-month window (March 1, 2012 - Sept. 30, 2012). Because of his failure to enroll, he must now enroll during the annual enrollment period and his Part B coverage will not be activated until July 1, 2013.

In addition, if this person's spouse is under 65 and covered under his New York State coverage, she would still be entitled to coverage for physician visits and outpatient services under the New York State coverage. Any eligible children would also be covered.

If you are a NYSID retiree under the age of 65 working for another employer, please take heed. Failing to file for Medicare Part B could be a costly mistake.

Please be advised that the foregoing is for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice. For more information, see: