How to Enroll in Medicare on Your Spouse’s Work Record

Did you know you can enroll in Medicare Part A & Part B on your spouse’s work record?  If you’re surprised, you’re not alone. Many are surprised this is even an option. So, why exactly would you want to enroll under your spouse’s work record?  Keep reading or watch our YouTube video at the end of this post.

If you don’t have at least 40 quarters (about 10 years of work) paid into the Medicare system, you aren’t eligible for premium-free Medicare Part A. That means Part A might cost you as much as $437/mo in 2019 when you have limited or no work history.

However, you can enroll in premium-free Part A under your spouse’s work history, if he or she has the necessary 40 quarters of Medicare earnings required AND is at least age 62.  

NOTE: Your spouse does NOT have to be receiving Social Security retirement benefits for this to work.

Let’s break down how you can do this during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) and your Special Enrollment Period (SEP).

INITIAL ENROLLMENT PERIOD (IEP)

As a quick reminder, here is a summary of your IEP:

There are 2 ways to enroll in Medicare on your spouse’s work record:

Option 1: Enroll In-Person at a Social Security Office (preferred method)

  • If you’re able, schedule an appointment at your local Social Security office.  If you walk-in, you might have to wait awhile. If you have an appointment, you can guarantee that you’ll be seen that day.  If you don’t have an appointment, be sure to avoid Mondays and Fridays.
  • It’s a good idea for both you and your spouse to go there together.  On your own, you’ll have to show proof of your marriage with your marriage certificate.
  • Complete Form CMS-40B (Application for Enrollment in Medicare Part B) ahead of time so you have it ready for the Social Security representative.

Option 2: Enroll By Phone

  • If you can’t get to a Social Security office, you can schedule a phone appointment with Social Security.
  • Your spouse will need to be available for the call, as the Social Security phone representative will verify his or her identity and your marriage.
  • After the phone call, Social Security will mail you two things to finalize the enrollment, one of which requires your action:
    • A summary of the answers you provided during the phone application
    • A form for your spouse to sign and return to Social Security, which validates your marriage and gives approval for the Medicare enrollment on his or her work record.

Now what if you need to enroll but are older than 65 (after your Initial Enrollment Period)?  The process is slightly different, as you will utilize the Special Enrollment Period (SEP) rules.

SPECIAL ENROLLMENT PERIOD (SEP)

A SEP is when you are beyond your 7-month IEP.  In this situation, an in-person visit to a local Social Security office is the only route we recommend.  This is because there is one additional form required to make this happen. We prefer you simply hand those forms to a real person, rather than handling everything through the mail, especially if you need coverage to start the very next month.

Simply follow the instructions in Option 1 from above and complete Form CMS-L564 (Request for Employment Information).  This form needs to be completed by a human resources representative from the employer you have health insurance coverage with.  It will verify that you’ve been covered in an employer group health plan since age 65 and help you avoid a late enrollment penalty.

Enrolling in Medicare is simple, even when you use a spouse’s work record. Now, you have the information needed to make your Medicare enrollment an easy process! But, if you have any specific questions and would like to speak to someone directly, contact us today.

Reference Links

Form CMS-40B (Application for Enrollment in Part B)

Form CMS-L564 (Request for Employment Information)

Neither Medicare Mindset LLC nor its agents are connected with the Federal Medicare program.