Typically, you are eligible for Medicare if you are eligible for Social Security benefits or Railroad Retirement benefits. However, there are a few significant differences to notes if you enroll in Medicare as a retired railroad worker.
Your enrollment into Medicare will not be processed by Social Security but by the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB). Suppose you receive Railroad Retirement benefits or railroad disability annuity checks when you become Medicare eligible. In that case, RRB should automatically enroll you into Medicare Part A & Medicare Part B. If you aren’t collecting Railroad benefits before turning 65 – contact your local RRB to enroll in Medicare.
If you have a disability and are under 65, you must fulfill different requirements to become eligible for Medicare. Whether you are eligible is determined by how RRB classifies your disability. For more information on this, contact your local RRB.
However, suppose you are eligible for Medicare due to an End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) diagnosis. In that case, you will need to contact Social Security to enroll in Medicare, regardless of if you were a railroad worker.
RRB will collect your Medicare premiums, and your Medicare Part B premium should be deducted from your Railroad Retirement benefits or railroad disability annuity checks automatically. This also goes for those who do not qualify for premium-free Medicare Part A.
For any services you receive covered under Medicare Part B, your providers will bill a separate contractor that has been chosen by the RRB. Always ensure that your providers know that you are covered by Railroad Medicare so that Medicare pays promptly and the proper contractor is billed for your services.
Last but not least, your Medicare card will look a little different, shown below.