Do I need Medicare if I have other coverage?

You should sign up for Medicare Part A (hospitalization) when you turn 65, even if you don't plan to retire or have other coverage. But you may not need Medicare Part B (medical) or Part D (prescription drug) coverage right away.

Getting expert advice might help you decide:

  • If you have a private insurance plan, contact your insurance agent to find out how your plan fits with Medicare Part A.
  • If you have employer-provided coverage, your employer or union benefits administrator may be able to help you decide if it's to your advantage to delay enrolling in Part B and/or Part D.

What if I already have federal insurance?

If you have coverage through the Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) program, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), TRICARE military health benefits or Indian Health Services you have creditable prescription drug coverage. In most cases, it will be to your advantage to keep your government insurance.


These plans usually include prescription drug coverage, so you don't need to join a Medicare drug plan. For more information contact the Office of Personnel Management at 888.767.6738 or visit their website. TTY users should call 855.887.5957.


You may be able to get drug coverage through the VA. If you join a Medicare drug plan you can't use both your VA drug coverage and your Medicare drug plan for the same prescription at the same time. For more information, call the VA at 800.827.1000 or visit their website. TTY users should call 800.829.4833.


Most people with TRICARE who are entitled to Part A must have Part B to keep TRICARE drug benefits. If you have TRICARE, you don't need to join a Medicare drug plan. For more information, call the TRICARE Pharmacy Program at 877.363.1303 or visit their website.

Indian Health Services

If you get prescription drugs through an Indian health facility, you'll continue to get drugs at no cost to you and your coverage won't be interrupted. Joining a Medicare drug plan may help your Indian health facility because the drug plan pays the Indian health facility for the cost of your prescriptions. Talk to your local Indian health benefits coordinator for help understanding your options.

Related articles