If you do not already have Medicare Part A (hospital benefit) and/or Medicare Part B (outpatient benefit), there are 2 forms (available thru Social Security) that need to be completed to activate your benefits. One form is completed by you; the other is completed by you and also your employer; both forms need to be taken to Social Security for enrollment onto Part B (and if you weren’t already enrolled onto Part A, that will be taken care of at the same time by Social Security).
Once you are enrolled onto both Part A and Part B of Medicare you have choices: (1) you can add a Medicare supplement/medigap policy, if you want freedom of choice when selecting providers, along with a stand alone prescription drug plan; or (2) you can select a Medicare Advantage/HMO plan (i.e., all of your doctors would need to be in the same medical group and take the HMO plan you select) – the HMO (referred to as Part C under Medicare) would provide both your medical and prescription drug coverage; or (3) if your company has a retiree plan that contains prescription coverage and states in their plan document that the drug coverage is deemed comparable to a Medicare drug plan, you can go ahead and partner that retiree plan with your Part A and B of Medicare; however, if it is not creditable coverage, then you will want to purchase a Medicare stand-alone drug plan so that you do not incur a penalty. (NOTE: if you are eligible for a retiree plan, but do not enroll onto it when first eligible, you will not be able to enroll onto it later.)
If you are over age 65, verify with your former employer that the prescription drug coverage under your employer plan had language indicating that their drug coverage was comparable/creditable to a Medicare drug plan. If it was not creditable drug coverage, then you will incur a penalty of 1% per month for each month since turning 65 that you will carry in perpetuity.