Do I automatically get Medicare when I turn 65?

Yes and no. While enrollment in Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) is automatic for most people when they turn 65, enrollment in Part B (medical insurance) requires you to take action. If you are already receiving Social Security benefits when you turn 65, you may be automatically enrolled in Part A and Part B. However, if you’re not receiving Social Security benefits, you’ll need to actively enroll in Medicare Part B during the Initial Enrollment Period, or IEP. This period begins three months before you turn 65 and ends three months after.

Most people sign up for both Part A and Part B when they’re first eligible. Generally, there are risks to signing up later, like a gap in your coverage or having to pay late enrollment penalty.

 

 

What if I’m still working at 65?

If you or your spouse are still working and receiving group health benefits from your employer, you may be able to wait to sign up for Medicare without paying a penalty. Once you stop working, you have an eight-month Special Enrollment Period (SEP) when you can enroll in Medicare. The SEP starts when you stop working even if you choose COBRA or other coverage that’s not Medicare.

If you’re self-employed, ask your insurance provider if your coverage is employer group health plan coverage as defined by the IRS. If it’s not, sign up for Medicare when you turn 65 to avoid a monthly Part B late enrollment penalty.

If you’re still working and do not have health insurance, sign up for both Part A and Part B when you’re first eligible (usually when turning 65). If you sign up later, you may have to pay a penalty.

Can my spouse get Medicare even if they never worked?

 

Yes, even if your spouse never worked, they may still be eligible for Medicare based on your work history. This is known as “spousal benefits.” If you qualify for Medicare based on your work history, your spouse may be eligible based on your work history.