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Do Social Security and Medicare Go Hand in Hand?

Millions of Americans use both Social Security and Medicare. But how do the programs affect each other?

In the following video from our Social Security Q&A series, Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning, answers a question from Fool reader Larry, who asks whether registering for Medicare is a requirement when you sign up for Social Security because he wants to keep using a Health Savings Account. Dan notes that the link between Medicare and HSAs is strong, because having Medicare coverage doesn't qualify as a high-deductible health plan that's necessary for HSA coverage. But if you're not yet of Medicare age, you should be able to take Social Security and still contribute to an HSA. Moreover, if you don't take Social Security, you can decline Medicare after age 65, but doing so rarely makes financial sense because of the protection that Medicare offers. Dan concludes that it's smart to consider all your Medicare and Social Security options before making final decisions about your finances.

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Have general questions about Social Security? Email them to, and they might be the subject of a future video!

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Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On May 17, 2014, at 10:40 AM, Efisher wrote:

    HSA can be tricky when applying or not applying for Medicare. If the HSA is creditable and the person is satisfied after comparing benefits and costs between the HSA and Medicare, that the HSA plan is better, then the person should not take Part A or Part B of Medicare in order to continue contributing to the HSA as per IRS. If the HSA plan is non creditable and the person wants to keep the plan, the person will have a Part B and Part D penalty when the person does go on Medicare. In either case, if the person enrolls in Part A, the person cannot contribute to the HSA as per IRS. By requesting Social Security, a person is automatically enrolled in Part A. Any person in this HSA situation should seek the advice of a Medicare Plan agent, preferably one who is certified and appointed by multiple carriers.

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Dan Caplinger

Dan Caplinger has been a contract writer for the Motley Fool since 2006. As the Fool's Director of Investment Planning, Dan oversees much of the personal-finance and investment-planning content published daily on With a background as an estate-planning attorney and independent financial consultant, Dan's articles are based on more than 20 years of experience from all angles of the financial world.

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