Railroad Medicare – What You Need to Know
Here is what you need to know about Railroad Medicare Benefits to be successful in your retirement planning.
Introduction to Railroad Medicare
So, you are retiring from the Railroad? Congratulations! Mostly, your options for Medicare planning will be the same as everyone else’s. Our articles on Medicare Basics, Medicare Supplements and Medicare Advantage will all apply to you.
However, there are just a few differences between Social Security and the Railroad when it comes to Medicare. Let’s look at what these similarities and differences are.
What is the Same
- Already Retired: Signing-up for Medicare is the same on SS or RRB. If you are already receiving benefits from Social Security or the Railroad you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B. You can then decline Part B if you want to. (Read about declining Part B here.)
- Not Yet Retired or Not Receiving Benefits: For those of you that are not already retired and/or not yet receiving benefits, you will need to notify the local Railroad Board (RRB) office before you turn 65 that you would like to sign-up for Medicare. You can sign-up up to 3 months before you turn 65, and even if you are not planning on retiring at 65.
Your Medicare Path Choices
Just like Social Security Medicare, you will have two options for setting up your Medicare:
- Original Medicare: You have the option of choosing to keep Original Medicare and then enrolling in a stand-alone Part D Drug Plan. In addition, you can then add a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan to pick up the costs Original Medicare does not cover. You can read more about Original Medicare here.
- Medicare Advantage: You also have the option of moving to a “bundled” Medicare Advantage plan. These plans are run by private insurance companies and bundle together Parts A, B & D all into one plan with one point of contact. They are also called Medicare Part C. You can read more about Medicare Advantage here.
What is Different
Part B Claims Processing
The major difference in Medicare for Railroad Board vs Social Security, is how the Part B claims are handled. Unless you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan (where the private insurance company you use handles all of your Medicare claims), you will deal with a different claims handling entity than those enrolled in SS Medicare.
The Railroad Medicare program uses an outside company for medical insurance claims that fall under Part B services. (Read more about the different parts of Medicare and what they cover here.) This company Palmetto GBA. They are a subsidiary of Blue Cross and Blue Shield. You will need to submit claims directly to them if you are under Original Medicare through the RRB.
How to Contact Palmetto GBA for RRB Original Medicare Beneficaries
If you need to submit a claim for a Part B service or ask a question, you can contact Palmetto GBA here:
Railroad Medicare Part B Office
P.O. Box 10066
Augusta, GA 30999-0001
Toll Free: 1-800-833-4455
According to the RRB website, you will click on “RRB Specialty MAC Beneficiaries” on the website above
For more information about Railroad Medicare Benefits, you can visit their website here.