Do I Have to Enroll in Medicare When I Turn 65?

If you are going to retire and no longer be covered by an employer group health plan or if you are self-employed and have an individual health insurance plan, you will need to enroll in Medicare.

If you continue to work and get your health insurance from your employer or your spouse’s employer, you may not need to enroll in Medicare. If your employer has fewer than 20 employees and you continue to work once you turn 65, you probably will need to enroll in Medicare. Always check with your employer before making your final decision about whether to sign up for Medicare once you turn 65.  

If you receive your health insurance from your employer once you become eligible for Medicare, you only need to enroll in Part A of Medicare because it is free. Part B of Medicare cost $144.60 per month and could cost more depending on your income. Keep in mind that if your employer has more than 20 employees, your employer plan will be your primary insurance, not Medicare. You will be able to enroll in Part B of Medicare after you retire and come off of your employer group health plan without having to pay a late enrollment penalty.

Enrolling in Medicare, even though you are still working, can make sense for some people. If your employer plan has a high deductible and your out-of-pocket costs are high, you may want to go ahead and enroll in both Part A and B of Medicare and drop your employer plan. If you did that, you would need to select a Medicare Supplement and a Part D prescription drug plan.