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What you need to know

You have the choice to delay Medicare enrollment if you are working past 65, or if you receive health insurance coverage through your spouse's employer.

  • If you choose to wait to enroll in Part A or Part B, you will have a special eight-month enrollment period to enroll in Medicare once you stop working or your employer coverage ends. If you miss signing up for Medicare during this enrollment period, two things could happen:
    • Your Part A premium may go up 10% for each 12-month period you could have had Part A but did not enroll.
    • You may have to pay a lifetime penalty fee for Part B.

Note: Some employers require you to get Medicare Part A and Part B once you turn 65 in order to get full employer coverage. Be sure to check with your employee benefits administrator before making any decision to delay Medicare coverage at age 65.

 Original Medicare — Part A

Even if you're not retiring at age 65, it's a good idea to sign up for Original Medicare Part A that can provide extra coverage in addition to your group insurance. If you or your spouse have been employed and paid Social Security taxes for 10 years, Part A will cost you nothing.

 Original Medicare — Part B

You can delay Original Medicare Part B until after retirement, but if you fail to enroll within the special eight-month enrollment period after you stop working or your employer coverage ends, you will have to pay a lifetime late enrollment penalty External Link .

  Prescription Plans — Part D 

If you have a prescription plan that provides creditable coverage through your employer, you can delay enrolling in Part D. However, this also has a lifetime late enrollment penalty so be sure to sign up once your employer plan ends. (Note: Original Medicare and Medicare supplement plans do not include drug coverage; however, many Medicare Advantage plans do.)

Unsure if your employer plan offers creditable drug coverage? Talk to your employee benefits administrator.