If you are not ready to retire, that doesn't mean you cannot apply for Medicare.
Jack Myers with Social Security has some important reminders for people over the age of 65. When to start receiving retirement benefits is a personal choice. Full retirement age for people born between 1943-1954 is 66, between 1955-1959 varies from 66 and 2 months to 66 and 10 months, and 1960 and later is 67. Meanwhile, the age to apply for Medicare is still 65.
This disparity means that some people will choose to enroll in Medicare before starting to receive monthly Social Security benefits. Naturally, people have questions about how to enroll in Medicare and what to do as they approach age 65. Myers explains if you are already receiving Social Security benefits before age 65, you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. You will still need to consider enrolling in a prescription drug plan (Part D) and a Medicare supplement, or perhaps a Medicare Advantage Plan, but the Parts A and B enrollment will be automatic. You should receive your Medicare card in the mail several months before you turn 65.
Your initial enrollment period is a 7-month window that starts 3 months before the month you attain age 65 and extends three months beyond. If you want coverage to start as early as possible, you should apply within the 3 months before the month you attain age 65. Myers reminds if you choose not to enroll in Part B during your initial enrollment period there may be penalties and limited options for future enrollment. An exception to this is if you or a family member is still actively employed and you are covered by a group health plan based on active employment or as long as that active employment and insurance coverage extends past the end of your IEP, you should qualify for a special enrollment period when you want to enroll in Part B.
If you are not receiving Social Security benefits before age 65, you will not automatically be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. If you want Medicare to start at age 65 you will need to apply for Medicare Parts A and B through Social Security. You can do that online in as little as 10 minutes at www.ssa.gov/benefits/medicare. You can also make a telephone appointment by calling 1-800-772-1213 or your local office www.ssa.gov/locator.