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Do you have to take Medicare at 65 if you're not retiring until 66?

Jan 17, 2019 11:33:00 AM / by Stephanie Pogue

Stephanie Pogue

So, what happens with Medicare and your health insurance when you’re turning 65 but plan to work until you’re 66? Many people delay retirement now that you have to be 66 to take advantage of your "full retirement benefit" from social security. 

waiting until 66 to retire

This decision tends to make the Medicare enrollment process a little more confusing but we can help you through it.

First, you need to know what your employer has to offer.

1.  Can you keep the plan you currently have for a reasonable monthly premium?

If you are happy with your current plan, monthly premium and coverage amount, this is the easiest option. You will be enrolled in Medicare Part A automatically, at no cost, but you can delay your Part B benefits until you retire and your employer group benefits end.

2.  Will your employer still offer coverage but change the benefits due to your Medicare eligibility?

If this is true, it’s a good idea to compare the new employer group benefits with the individual Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage plans in your area. Because the employer will most likely require you to enroll in Part B, you will be paying the Part B premium each month of $135.50 (in 2019) in addition to your plan’s premium amount. Individual plans outside of your employer may be more economical.

3.  Will your company reimburse you if you enroll in Medicare Part B and purchase an individual plan outside of the company?

This is a great option that many companies offer. This is an advantage to you because individual Supplemental and Advantage plans are often less expensive, or offer better coverage, than employer groups can.

Once you know what your employer has to offer, you can then compare it to the standard Medicare benefits along with a Supplemental or Advantage plan in your area.


choosing a medicare supplement download

Related Post: Medicare Advantage vs Medicare Supplement



1.  Medicare Part A enrollment is automatic at 65 and will not cost you anything. You are enrolled whether you retire or not. There is nothing you need to do. So, do you have to take Medicare at 65? Part A, yes, Part B, no.

2.  Enrollment in Part B is optional. If you employer group does not require it and you want to stay with their plan, delay your Part B enrollment and save yourself some money.

3.  You should only delay your Part B enrollment if you have other “credible coverage” like employer group health insurance. If you do not have credible coverage and do not sign up for Part B when you are first eligible at 65, you will incur a penalty and be limited with the dates you can enroll.


Related Posts: What Does Medicare Part A Cover?,  What is Medicare Part B and what does it cover?


Benefits of delaying Part B

1.  Part B costs $135.50 each month (in 2019) so the longer you delay, the more money you can save.

2.  Your open enrollment period is also delayed. Open enrollment is the 7 month window when you can choose any Medicare plan you want and do not have to answer any health questions to enroll. You are guaranteed coverage from any plan you choose during that time. Open enrollment occurs when you turn 65 or when you enroll in Part B.

How to delay Part B

If you are not taking your social security until 66, your Part B enrollment will most likely be delayed automatically. However, if you want to make sure, or if you receive your Medicare card in the mail, you can contact the social security office for verification.

You can review your plan options by speaking to an independent insurance agent who is able to offer multiple plans. Keep in mind if you speak to an agent who only offers one company, they will not be able to compare the plans objectively for you.

If you would like a free, no obligation comparison, you can contact us at your convenience.



Topics: Medicare

Stephanie Pogue

Written by Stephanie Pogue

Stephanie has been primarily helping seniors and retirees with their healthcare decisions since 1995. In addition, she has recruited and trained agents, developed and promoted managers, and ranked in the Top 3% of Sales Managers at Bankers Life & Casualty while she was there. She is now the Director of the St. Louis Insurance Group and can be reached by email at