Turning 65: Medicare & Employment

Most people are first eligible to enroll in Original Medicare, also known as Medicare, when they turn 65. To enroll in Medicare, you must be a US citizen or legal resident who has lived in the US for at least five years in a row. Find out when and how to enroll in Medicare and understand your options, whether you plan to retire or continue working.
Your seven-month “Initial Enrollment Period” begins three months before the month you turn 65 and ends three months after.
Begin your enrollment process with the Social Security Administration. The process is different if you’re retiring or plan to keep working, as well as if you plan to collect Social Security benefits.
Consider applying to enroll in Original Medicare and additional coverage as soon as you are eligible, so your coverage is effective at the beginning of your birthday month.
You can enroll in Original Medicare and any additional coverage within two months after your employer coverage ends. Apply on time to avoid a lapse in coverage and possible penalties.
If you will start collecting Social Security benefits when you turn 65, Social Security should enroll you in Original Medicare (Parts A and B) automatically. They will mail your Medicare card to you three months before your 65th birthday.

If you don’t receive your Social Security card or you haven’t enrolled in Social Security, visit or call your local Social Security office or go to the SocialSecurity.gov website.

Contact Social Security to sign up for Original Medicare and pay your Part B monthly premium directly. After you start receiving your Social Security benefits, the Part B premium will be automatically deducted from your monthly Social Security payment.

Speak with your benefits administrator at work to see how your employer’s plan works with Medicare. You may be required to enroll in Original Medicare Parts A and B when you turn 65. 

Many people choose to enroll only in Part A (hospital coverage) because they have no monthly premium for that coverage and delay enrollment in Part B until they lose their employer’s coverage. 

Contact your Social Security office to find out what you need to do to make sure your enrollment decisions are followed. 

Important: If you stay on your employer’s plan after 65 and that plan covers prescription drugs, keep records of your coverage. You may need proof of prescription drug coverage when you eventually enroll in Medicare to avoid penalties.

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Talk to a health plan specialist 8 am–8 pm, Monday - Friday.

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Current Members:

Did you know? Original Medicare doesn’t cover everything.

Original Medicare doesn’t pay 100% of the cost of services it covers, and some things aren’t covered at all. Once you enroll, you can choose to add plan(s) to fill coverage gaps and reduce out-of-pocket costs.

Your employer’s plan could be more expensive.

Thinking of staying on your employer’s plan after you turn 65?
It’s worth it to do the math! Be sure to compare your current plan’s benefits and costs with your Medicare options. 

A Medicare Advantage plan could save you money.

Consider Medicare Advantage—you could save with lower copays/coinsurance than Original Medicare, plus lower premiums than most Medicare supplement plans. And, many cover Part D prescription drugs!

Have questions? We’re here to help.

Talk to a Generations Advantage health plan specialist 8 am–
8 pm, seven days a week from October 1 to March 31; and Monday through Friday the rest of the year.