Medicare age is still 65

Even though Social Security full retirement ages (FRA) vary based on year of birth, it is important to remember that the age to begin receiving Medicare has not changed. It is still 65.  

Medicare is our country’s health insurance program for people age 65 or older. Certain people younger than age 65 can qualify for Medicare, too, including those who have disabilities and those who have permanent kidney failure.The program helps with the cost of health care, but it does not cover all medical expenses or the cost of most long-term care  

Even if waiting until after age 65 to apply for Social Security retirement benefits, most people start getting Medicare coverage at age 65.  

To begin your Medicare coverage when you first become eligible, apply within three months of reaching age 65, but definitely before the month you turn age 65, to avoid any delays in coverage.   

You can file your Medicare application online in as little as 10 minutes at www.socialsecurity.gov/medicareonly. Again, you can apply for Medicare even if not ready to retire.

More than just the online Medicare application is at the above website link. You will also find information about Medicare, and have the opportunity to watch some short videos about applying for Medicare online. One is a family reunion for the cast of The Patty Duke Show. In another, Patty Duke and George Takei go boldly where you should be going — online.

Using the online Medicare application is fast, easy, and secure. You do not need an appointment and you can avoid waiting in traffic or in line. If you have about ten minutes, you have time to complete and submit your online Medicare application.

People who started receiving Social Security retirement or disability benefits before age 65 do not need to apply for Medicare. They will be automatically enrolled in Medicare.

There is no additional charge for Medicare hospital insurance (Part A) since you already paid for it by working and paying Medicare tax. However, there is a monthly premium for medical insurance (Part B). Since there is a monthly premium for Part B coverage, there is an option of turning it down. 

If you already have other health insurance when you become eligible for Medicare, consider whether you want the Medicare medical insurance (Part B). In particular, this is important if you are covered under a group health plan, either from your own or your spouse’s current employment.  If this applies, you can delay Part B enrollment without penalty. Read more about this in the Signing Up for Medicare section of the booklet, Medicare.

To learn more about Medicare and some options for choosing coverage, read the publication, Medicare, at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10043.html or available from any Social Security office. Coverage information is at www.medicare.gov.  

To learn more about applying for Medicare Only using the online application, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/medicareonly. If filing online is not for you, call the Social Security national toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), or your local office to make an appointment.

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