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Do I have to take Medicare if I receive Social Security?

For various reasons, there are some who choose to put off Medicare enrollment when they turn 65.  If they also delay Social Security benefits, there will be no problem.  However, if they get Social Security but do not enroll in Medicare Part A, there can be problems.

In 2011, a district court decision determined that, if you want Social Security, you must also take Medicare.  An appeals court in spring 2011 reaffirmed this decision.  Here are some facts from the decision, known as Hall vs. Sebelius.

  • Medicare Part A, hospital insurance, is mandatory for those who receive Social Security, and may have an impact on existing health coverage.
  • A person who does not participate in Medicare Part A must forego all Social Security retirement benefits and repay any benefits already received.
  • Medicare Part B, medical insurance, is an optional benefit.  Failing to enroll will not jeopardize Social Security benefits.
Last updated: 05-13-2013