Entitlement for Medicare

Age 65 is a milestone that, for many people, comes with choices and decisions about their future – including finances, medical coverage, and retirement lifestyle. Entitlement for Medicare is also a qualifying life event.

Whether you plan to keep working or will soon retire, you need to take certain actions to ensure you receive the healthcare coverage at age 65 and beyond that's most appropriate for your personal situation. 


If you have paid Medicare taxes during your working years, you are eligible for Medicare at age 65. Approximately three months before reaching age 65, you will receive a letter from the Board of Pensions with information and guidance for your Medicare enrollment options. 

Medical coverage if you continue working

Minister members only: If you are enrolled in Pastor’s Participation and do not plan to retire at age 65, you may not waive Medical Plan coverage. You will need to visit the Social Security website to enroll in Medicare Part A only. There is no monthly cost for this coverage, which begins at age 65.

If you are enrolled in medical coverage through the Board (not in Pastor’s Participation), and you plan to continue working after age 65 you have two options:

  • Maintain Medical Plan coverage
    • Visit the Social Security website to enroll in Medicare Part A only. There is no monthly cost for this coverage, which begins when you turn 65.
    • Defer Medicare Part B. Social Security will not penalize you for deferring Part B as long as you are covered by an employer-sponsored health plan — from your or your spouse’s employer.
    • Consider your spouse’s options. Your spouse may want to waive Medical Plan coverage and enroll in another qualified health plan (through another employer or the healthcare marketplace). This may result in a cost savings. If eligible, your spouse may still enroll in the Humana Group Medicare Advantage PPO plan when you retire.
  • Waive Medical Plan coverage (not in Pastor’s Participation)

Medical coverage if you plan to retire

When you retire, your medical coverage through the Board of Pensions ends. If you are age 65 or older (or under age 65 with certain disabilities), you can enroll for Medicare, which provides the foundation for your healthcare coverage in retirement. Visit the Social Security website if you wish to enroll in medical insurance under Medicare.

However, Original Medicare (Parts A and B) may not provide all the coverage you need. Therefore, you may want to consider enrolling in the Humana Group Medicare Advantage PPO plan. This Medicare Part C plan can provide all the benefits of Original Medicare, prescription drug coverage, plus extras like dental, vision, and hearing aid benefits and a variety of wellness, clinical, and fitness programs. Refer to the Humana Group Medicare Advantage PPO plan for more information.


The age at which you retire and the payment option you choose affect your Defined Benefit Pension Plan benefit. If you were not vested before age 65 and you are an active or disabled plan member, you are automatically vested on your 65th birthday.

Active and disabled members who are enrolled in the Defined Benefit Pension Plan can use the pension estimator on Benefits Connect at any time to obtain a pension estimate. The tool allows you to view your projected benefit immediately and use various dates for your planned last day of work and the date you would like retirement payments to begin (first of any month). It also can incorporate projected annual salary increases up to 10 percent. This can help assess your current and future financial standing and the various options available to you.

See Defined Benefit Pension Plan and More Information About Commencing Retirement Pension (in the Resources & Support section of Benefits Connect) for additional information.

Social Security

If you qualify for Social Security benefits, you can begin receiving reduced benefits at age 62. Eligibility for full retirement benefits depends on your birth year. Earnings limitations apply if you choose to begin taking Social Security before your full retirement age. Visit the Social Security website before initiating your Social Security benefits, to review your options and any applicable rules. 

Retirement Savings Plan

If you participate in the Retirement Savings Plan of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (RSP), a qualified 403(b)(9) defined contribution church plan, you may begin withdrawing funds from your account at age 59½, but you are not required to do so. These funds are intended to provide income during retirement, so most participants wait until they retire. You may keep your account in the Retirement Savings Plan throughout your retirement. In fact, Fidelity has several options for periodic withdrawals while you keep your funds in your RSP account. You may want to consult with your tax or financial adviser about distributions and amounts best suited for your needs and future plans.