Medicare, Social Security, and UI Health Insurance

This page gives an overview of Medicare and Social Security as they apply to Employees of the University of Iowa (UI).  It also explains how UI Health Insurance interacts with Medicare. Please refer to the Medicare or Social Security websites or  for detailed information.

Medicare

Medicare Parts A and B

Medicare A: This is hospital insurance that helps pay for inpatient care in a hospital or skilled nursing facility following a hospital stay, some home health care, and hospice care. There is no cost for Medicare Part A as long as you are eligible for the Social Security benefit.

Medicare B: This helps cover medically-necessary services like doctors’ services, outpatient care, and other medical services that Part A does not cover. Part B also covers some preventive services. Most people will pay the standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B.

Medicare Parts C and D

You will not need Medicare Parts C and D if you continue on a UI health plan.

Medicare C: These are Medicare Advantage plans that are health plan options approved by Medicare and run by private companies.

Medicare D: This provides prescription drug coverage. University health plans include prescription drug coverage that is as good or better coverage than the standard Medicare prescription coverage. This means that this coverage is considered “creditable coverage” and that you will not have to pay a penalty if you later decide to enroll in Medicare Part D. Letters of Creditable Coverage for Medicare D are mailed each November to active employees and spouses and retirees and spouses over age 65.

If you decide to enroll in a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, be aware that this action will result in permanent loss of the University of Iowa health insurance. 

Social Security

Active employees may begin to collect Social Security benefits while still working.  If younger than full Social Security retirement age, there is a limit to the amount the employee can earn and still receive full benefits. When the active employee reaches full Social Security retirement age, Social Security benefits would not be limited based on their earnings. When active employees delay receiving Social Security benefits beyond full retirement age, the benefits would be increased by a certain percentage.

Social Security benefits are increased by a certain percentage (depending on date of birth) if you delay your retirement beyond full Social Security retirement age. The benefit increase no longer applies when you reach age 70, even if you continue to delay taking benefits.

UI Health Insurance and Medicare

Active employee

If you or your spouse/domestic partner is an active employee and enrolled in a UI health plan, the UI health plan will continue to be your primary insurance. You should enroll in Medicare Part A effective on the first of the month in which you turn age 65.  However, if your 65th birthday falls on the first day of the month, then Medicare A should be effective on the first day of the preceding month.

Medicare A will have no cost to you and may supplement your UI health plan if you were hospitalized. You may delay enrolling in Medicare Part B until you retire from the University. There is a monthly premium for Medicare B and you should not need this coverage until you retire.

  • If you get benefits from Social Security, you will automatically get Parts A and B. Your Medicare card will be mailed to you about 3 months before your 65th birthday. If your card shows both Medicare A and B coverage, follow the instructions to delay Medicare B and keep Medicare A. You will be mailed an updated card that shows just Medicare A coverage. Wellmark will contact you by mail with a request for your Medicare information. In order to ensure proper claims processing, you must provide Wellmark with the requested information.

  • If you are not getting Social Security, you will need to sign up for Part A. You should contact your local Social Security Administration office 3 months before you turn age 65 to sign up for Medicare Part A.

In order to avoid penalties, we suggest you contact the Medicare office to inform them that you have primary coverage through your employer and do not need Medicare Part B.

Active employee age 65 or older preparing to retire

  • You should already be enrolled in Medicare A effective when you turned age 65.

  • Contact your local Social Security office 3 months prior to your retirement date to determine your Medicare eligibility and to enroll in Medicare Part B. Advise the representative that you have been working past age 65 and that your Medicare B coverage should be effective the first day of the month following your retirement date. Contact the Benefits Office and schedule an appointment with a Benefits Specialist.

UI retiree turning age 65

If you are retired and enrolled in a UI health plan, Medicare Parts A and B will become primary insurance for you and/or your spouse/domestic partner on the first of the month when you turn age 65. However, if your 65th birthday falls on the first day of the month, then Medicare Parts A and B should be effective on the first day of the preceding month.  If you continue on a UI health plan, it will be a supplement to Medicare and it will include prescription coverage.

  • If you get benefits from Social Security, you will automatically get Medicare Parts A and B. Your Medicare card will be mailed to you about 3 months before your 65th birthday.  Wellmark will contact you by mail with a request for your Medicare information. In order to ensure proper claims processing, you must provide Wellmark with the requested information.

  • If you are not getting Social Security, you will need to sign up for Parts A and B.  You should contact your local Social Security Administration office 3 months before you turn age 65 to sign up for Medicare Parts A and B.  Wellmark will contact you by mail with a request for your Medicare information. In order to ensure proper claims processing, you must provide Wellmark with the requested information.

Faculty, Professional & Scientific, Merit Supervisory Exempt Retiree  Your UI health plan will automatically continue as a Medicare carve-out and will supplement Medicare Parts A and B and continue to provide you prescription coverage. If you want to stop the University health plan, submit a letter with your signature or an email to the Benefits Office. Your UI health plan will end no sooner than the last day of the month that we receive your written notice.

Merit  Retiree  Contact the customer service number on the back of your Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield health insurance card.

Early Retiree  You will receive a letter from the UI Benefits Office approximately 2 months before you turn age 65. Contact the Benefits Office if you have questions after receiving this letter.

Medicare eligible due to disability

If you become eligible for Medicare, due to disability while receiving Long Term Disability benefits and enrolled in a UI health plan, Medicare A and B will be your primary insurance. You should enroll in Medicare as soon as you become eligible because they offer limited enrollment periods. Not enrolling as soon as you are eligible can result in your being responsible for claims that should be paid by that program, along with increased premiums for late enrollment. You should not enroll in Medicare part D. You may continue the UI health plan as a supplement to Medicare A and B. Contact the Benefits Office as soon as you become eligible for Medicare for coordination of benefits.

Disabled Dependent  If your dependent or spouse/domestic partner becomes eligible for Medicare due to a disability, and is enrolled under your active employee UI health plan, your UI health plan will continue to be their primary insurance. Your dependent or spouse/domestic partner should enroll in Medicare Part A. This will have no cost to you and would supplement your UI health plan if the disabled person were hospitalized. The disabled person may delay enrolling in Medicare Part B until they are no longer on an employer health plan. There is a monthly premium for Medicare B and they should not need this coverage if they are covered on a health plan due to your employment.

  • If your dependent or spouse/domestic partner receives benefits from Social Security due to disability, they will automatically be mailed a Medicare card about 2 months before they become eligible.  If the card shows both Medicare A and B coverage, follow the instructions to delay Medicare B and keep Medicare A. An updated card will be mailed that shows just Medicare A coverage.  Send a copy of this card to the Benefits Office to ensure coordination of benefits.

  • If you want to stop UI health coverage for the disabled dependent or spouse/domestic partner, you should contact Social Security to ask about Medicare eligibility and contact the Benefits Office to make your benefit changes.

Benefits Office

Campus address
120 USB
U.S. mailing address
The University of Iowa
University Benefits Office
120 University Services Bldg.
Iowa City, IA 52242-1911
Phone
319-335-2676
877-830-4001
FAX
319-335-2776