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The RRB: How Do the Railroad Retirement Board and Medicare Work Together?

medicare and railroad retirement board

Do you receive retirement benefits through the Railroad Retirement Board? You can choose a Medicare plan. Call our licensed agents today at (800) 950-0608 to start the process.

Just the Essentials:

  • Retiring railroad workers do not receive their benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA).

  • Retired railroad workers receive benefits through the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB).

  • The RRB is the chief source of benefits for railroad workers.

  • Medicare will still be responsible for your health care benefits when you retire.

  • You will need to apply for your Medicare benefits through the RRB.

What is the Railroad Retirement Board? How do the Railroad Retirement Board and Medicare Work Together?

Even if you’re close to retirement age, but not quite there, and you work for the railroad, this unique retirement board for railroad workers may be a concept that’s new to you.

What’s important to remember is that this specialized retirement board will be key to your future retirement benefits and enrollment in Medicare.

This retirement board is similar to the U.S. Social Security Administration in that both were established by Congress to provide retirees with adequate benefits and assistance. However, this board is its own entity, focusing exclusively on providing retired railroad employees and their families with unique:

  • Survivor benefits
  • Sickness benefits
  • Occupational disability benefits
  • Spousal benefits

Although the Railroad Retirement Board provides these benefits, your health insurance in retirement is still provided by Medicare. This begs the question: how do the Railroad Retirement Board and Medicare work together? Let’s find out.

How does this Specialized Retirement Board work with Medicare Enrollment?

When it comes to medical insurance, the RRB functions much like the Social Security Administration (SSA). It serves as both your hub for enrollment in Medicare and the collector of the monthly premium that you pay for hospital insurance or medical insurance through Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B).

If you or a family member are currently receiving annuities through the this specialized retirement board, you’ll get information about the Medicare program a few months before you’re eligible for coverage. If you’re eligible for an annuity, but you aren’t receiving one at the moment, you’ll need to contact your local office before turning 65 to apply for medical insurance under Original Medicare. In any instance, you’ll be applying for coverage with Original Medicare through the the Board instead of through social security.

So, what if you’re a railroad worker who’s under 65 and you have a disability that qualifies you for Medicare coverage ? How do you apply for Medicare? Well, not much changes. The Board handles all of your current medical insurance and disability benefits, which means they’ll also handle your enrollment process.

Enrollment in Medicare coverage through this retirement board boasts a similar process as enrolling through social security benefits. In order to sign up for Medicare benefits through the Board, you can:

  • Apply online through your myRRB account
  • File an in-person application at your local field office
  • Calling your field office/ inspector general office

The Board is also responsible for collecting your Medicare monthly premium. Many of you will likely qualify for premium-free Medicare Part A, but if you don’t, your Part A premium will be deducted from your monthly check. Medicare Part B always carries a monthly premium, which will also be deducted from your monthly check.

Once you start receiving your medical insurance via your Medicare coverage benefits, you’ll receive a Medicare card through this specialized retirement board. This card will look similar to the one that’s distributed by the SSA, but with one key difference: your card will read “Railroad Retirement Board” on the bottom.

I Receive Benefits Through the RRB - Can I Still Sign Up for a Different Type of Medicare Plan?

If you receive benefits through the Board, you may wonder whether or not you can enroll in Medicare plans that are different from Original Medicare. For instance, you may want to enroll in:

  • A Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) plan
  • A Medicare Prescription Drug (Medicare Part D) coverage plan
  • A Medigap Supplemental Insurance plan

You’ll be glad to know that you can certainly still enroll in any of the plans listed above. Each of these plan types is offered through private insurance companies, which means that, while the agency is authorized by Medicare to offer the plan, the plan isn’t controlled by the Federal government.

Medicare Prescription Drug plans and Medigap plans are there to help you cover many of the things that aren’t covered by Original Medicare. This includes:

  • Prescription medications
  • Copayments
  • Coinsurance payments

Medicare Advantage plans offer the same coverage as Original Medicare. However, these plans often exceed the coverage that is offered by Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B. For example, Medicare Advantage plans often cover:

  • Dental care
  • Vision care
  • Hearing care
  • Transportation to and from appointments
  • Durable medical supplies

When it comes time to choose a Medicare plan that’s right for you, we can help. Give our licensed agents a call today with any questions you may have regarding Medicare plans in your area. They’ll be happy to answer them!

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