You may be nearing 65 and wondering about Medicare. Specifically, whether you have to enroll in Medicare or can keep your current health insurance.
The short answer: It depends
. You may have to enroll in Medicare when you turn 65 if you want to avoid late penalties or premium surcharges.
To better answer the question “Can I keep my current health insurance when I turn 65?
”, let’s first talk about your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)
Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)
Whether you choose to, you are first able to sign up for Medicare during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)
. It lasts for seven months total
: the three months prior to the month of your 65th
birthday, the month of your 65th
birthday, and the three months after the month of your 65th
Generally speaking, if you do not sign up for Medicare on time, you may have to pay a 10% surcharge on Medicare Part B premiums
for each year you go without coverage starting the month you’re eligible for coverage.2
But what if you’re still working when you turn 65?
Do you have group coverage under a group health plan through an employer with 20 employees or more?3
If yes …
You do not
have to enroll in Medicare right away, and you can keep your current group health insurance.3
An individual will not receive a late penalty if they have coverage under a group health plan with 20 or more employees.
If no …
have to enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B.3
What happens next?
- have group coverage under a group health plan through an employer with 20 employees or more,
- delay enrolling in Medicare, and
- keep your current group health insurance for a certain amount of time after you turn 65
you’ll be eligible to enroll in Medicare during a Special Enrollment Period (SEP)
Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for when you leave your job after turning 65 and have delayed enrolling in Medicare.
You get an eight-month SEP to sign up for Medicare when you leave your job after turning 65.1
Signing up during this SEP ensures you will not have to pay Medicare Part B late penalties or premium surcharges.
You’re also eligible to sign up for Medicare during this eight-month SEP if you delayed enrolling in Medicare Part B because you were covered under your spouse’s group health insurance.1
Get a Medicare Supplement plan that allows you to choose your doctor.
Our licensed agents can help you pick a plan based on your needs.
Pick the coverage that’s best for you.
Just because you can delay enrolling in Medicare, doesn’t mean it makes the most financial sense for you to do so.
Compare what you pay for employer-provided health insurance coverage – including deductibles and cost-sharing – and which benefits it provides to the cost and benefits Medicare can provide you.
The coverage you need depends on your lifestyle and factors like budget, age, and health. Learn more about Medicare at medicare.gov
, and speak to a licensed insurance agent to get one-on-one help choosing coverage that best fits your needs.
- Medicare.gov, When does Medicare coverage start?, accessed November 2021
- Medicare.gov, Part B late enrollment penalty, accessed November 2021
- Medicare.gov, Working past 65, accessed November 2021