If you’re nearing retirement age, you may wonder how to apply for Medicare. The process is fairly simple, and in this blog post, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know. Whether you’re just turning 65 or retiring from your job, we’ll help make sure you get the coverage you need. 

Do I Automatically Get Medicare When I Turn 65?

Turning 65 is a huge milestone, and with it comes the question of Medicare and turning 65. Generally speaking, Medicare coverage is available for those aged 65 and over eligible for the Social Security Administration. However, Medicare enrollment isn’t automatic – even if you meet the requirements, you must take proactive steps to sign up.

You must enroll in Medicare during your initial enrollment period, which begins three months before your 65th birthday and ends three months after your 65th birthday. If you already receive Social Security benefits, you will automatically enroll in Medicare Parts A and B.

However, you still need to enroll in a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan if you want coverage for prescription drugs. If you want more coverage, such as dental, hearing, and vision care, you can enroll in Medicare Part C or Medicare Advantage Plan.

turning 65

If you are not receiving Social Security benefits, you will need to enroll actively in Medicare. You can apply online or in person at your local Social Security office; if you need help, you may wish to contact a Medicare advisor. You can call us at 888.809.2440 to speak with a licensed representative here at Senior Healthcare Advisors for detailed advice on understanding your Medicare enrollment process.

Before signing up, consider if Medicare coverage fits your personal healthcare needs and goals. Keeping these points in mind will ensure that Medicare works for you when you reach the age of 65!

How to Enroll in Medicare When Turning 65?

When turning 65, Medicare is an essential health insurance option, and enrolling can be easy. Generally, the best way to enroll in Medicare is online, but it’s important to understand all available options.

To enroll in Medicare when turning 65, you can follow these steps:

  1. Check your eligibility: You’re eligible for Medicare if you’re a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and have been legally residing in the country for at least five years, and are 65 years or older.
  2. Determine your enrollment period: You have a 7-month Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) that starts three months before the month you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65 and ends three months after the month you turn 65.
  3. Choose your coverage: There are several options for Medicare coverage, including Original Medicare (Parts A and B), Medicare Advantage (Part C), and Medicare Part D.
  4. Enroll: You can enroll in Medicare online, in person, or by calling the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213.
  5. Start using your coverage: Once you’re enrolled, your Medicare coverage will start the first day of the month you turn 65.

It’s important to enroll during your IEP to avoid late penalties. If you miss your IEP, you can enroll during the General Enrollment Period from January 1 to March 31, but your coverage may start on July 1 of that year.

Depending on your current situation, when turning 65 and enrolling in Medicare, it might be wise to sign up for additional coverage such as Medicare Advantage plans or stand-alone Part D prescription drug plans that private insurers offer. Additionally, if you’re currently receiving Social Security benefits when turning 65, you will automatically be enrolled in both Part A and Part B of original Medicare.

To make sure that you have the best coverage available to you when turning age 65, gathering information ahead of time is key. You can call us at 888.809.2440 to speak with a licensed representative here at Senior Healthcare Advisors. With proper preparation and research beforehand, turning 65 can be a smooth transition allowing for comprehensive healthcare coverage without any gaps.

What Are the Medicare Options When Turning 65?

So, what are the benefits of turning 65? Turning 65 is an exciting milestone, as it comes with the benefits of enrolling in Medicare, the benefits program administered by the federal government. Four main Medicare options are available to those eligible—Original Medicare (Parts A & B), a Medicare Advantage Plan, Part C, and Part D.

When turning 65, there are several options for Medicare coverage:

  1. Original Medicare (Parts A and B): Covers hospitalzation and Docters 
  2. Medicare Advantage (Part C): This is an alternative to Original Medicare that provides all your Part A and Part B coverage, as well as additional benefits like prescription drug coverage (Part D) and extra benefits, such as vision, hearing, and dental, in one comprehensive plan. Add Extra benefits 
  3. Medicare Supplement insurance (Medigap): These are private insurance plans that help cover some out-of-pocket costs not covered by Original Medicare, such as copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles.
  4. Prescription Drug Coverage (Part D): This is separate coverage for prescription drugs 

It’s important to understand your healthcare needs and budget when choosing Medicare coverage. You can enroll in one or more of these options during your Initial Enrollment Period. You can also switch plans during the Annual Enrollment Period (October 15 to December 7) or if you have a Special Enrollment Period (SEP).

Choosing which plan is best for you will depend on your existing needs, such as whether you require only basic coverage or have more extensive healthcare needs, such as needing medication every day. Knowing exactly what options you have when turning 65 will ensure you select the correct Medicare plan for yourself or a loved one.

How Soon Before Turning 65 Can I Apply for Medicare?

Turning 65 is a momentous occasion and the start of Medicare eligibility. The great news is that the Medicare enrollment period for turning is independent of your birth date. Your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) starts three months before you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65, and ends three months after you turn 65. This is the best time to enroll in Medicare, as you’ll avoid penalties for late enrollment.

If you’re still working and covered by an employer-sponsored health insurance plan, you may want to wait to enroll in Medicare. If your employer has fewer than 20 employees, you’ll need to enroll in Medicare as soon as you turn 65, even if you’re still working. If your employer has 20 or more employees, you can delay enrolling in Medicare without incurring late penalties.

During the seven-month window, you can choose your preferred plan by comparing prices and coverage options and decide whether you want Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage Plan. It’s important to get familiar with all of these options to make an informed decision that best suits your needs.

Regardless of your employment status, it’s important to start thinking about your Medicare options before your 65th birthday to ensure a smooth and stress-free enrollment process.

How to Qualify for Medicare Before Turning 65?

Turning 65 and Medicare? Many people may not be aware, but there are ways to qualify for Medicare before turning 65. You can qualify for Medicare before turning 65 under certain circumstances:

  1. Disability: If you have been receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits for 24 consecutive months, you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare.
  2. requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant, you’re eligible for Medicare regardless of age.
  3. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS): If you have been diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, you’ll be automatically enrolled in Medicare, regardless of age.

It’s important to note that if you qualify for Medicare before turning 65 due to disability or ESRD, your Medicare coverage will start earlier than the traditional age of 65. Still, the timing depends on your specific situation. You may still need to enroll in Medicare, even if you’re eligible based on disability or ESRD, so it’s a good idea to check with the Social Security Administration to ensure you have the right coverage.

It is highly recommended to speak to a Medicare advisor to properly assess whether or not you are eligible for Medicare before turning 65.

What Are the Advantages of Turning 65?

So, what are the advantages of turning 65? Turning 65 is often seen as a rite of passage into retirement, but there are even more advantages to celebrating this special milestone.

Turning 65 has several advantages, including:

  1. Medicare eligibility: Turning 65 makes you eligible for Medicare, the government-run health insurance program for people 65 or older or with certain disabilities. Medicare provides coverage for hospital stays, doctor visits, and preventative care services. This can be a game-changer in medical costs, allowing seniors to obtain necessary care and treatments that might otherwise be cost-prohibitive.
  2. Social Security benefits: Most people who turn 65 become eligible for Social Security retirement benefits, which provide a monthly income to help pay for living expenses.
  3. Retirement: Turning 65 often marks the traditional retirement age, allowing people to stop working and pursue leisure activities, travel, or spend more time with family and friends.
  4. Discounts: Turning 65 also brings about age-based discounts on all sorts of goods and services, making saving on everyday living costs easier. Many businesses offer senior discounts to people over 65, including restaurants, retail stores, and entertainment venues.
  5. Health care: Turning 65 often means access to more comprehensive health care coverage, including prescription drug coverage and additional benefits not covered by Medicare.
  6. Lifestyle: Turning 65 often means more free time and a chance to enjoy new experiences, pursue hobbies, and connect with others.

Turning 65 is a significant milestone, and it’s important to understand the benefits and responsibilities of it, including enrolling in Medicare, making decisions about Social Security, and considering options for healthcare coverage.

​​Do I Have to Enroll in Medicare at 65 if I Have Tricare?​​

Turning 65 often triggers the need to make sure your healthcare coverage is in order. If you or your spouse are or were active duty military personnel and used TRICARE for your health insurance, the answer to “do I have to enroll in Medicare at 65 if I have TRICARE?” is generally no; you do not need to sign up for Medicare. In this case, you can continue with TRICARE without taking any further action.

Tricare acts as primary insurance, and Medicare acts as secondary insurance. If you have Tricare, you may enroll in Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) for the additional benefits it provides. Still, you do not have to enroll in Medicare Part B (medical insurance) or Part D (prescription drug coverage). 

However, there are some situations when service members, their families, or survivors may benefit from having both Medicare and Tricare. It’s best to speak with a qualified healthcare professional who can explain any potential benefits of having both policies and advise if you should get additional coverage.

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Why is it Important to Get Medicare Before Turning 65?

Medicare and Turning 65 always go together. Turning 65 is a significant milestone, and Medicare is an important part of the process. Medicare provides essential medical coverage – including hospital stays, doctor visits, and prescription drugs – for individuals age 65. It also provides protection from potential financial hardship stemming from high medical costs.

Furthermore, it is important to enroll in Medicare before turning 65 because:

  1. Penalty: If you do not enroll in Medicare during your initial enrollment period, you may be subject to a late enrollment penalty for as long as you have Medicare coverage.
  2. Coverage Gap: If you delay enrolling in Medicare, you may have a gap in your health insurance coverage, leaving you responsible for paying for your medical expenses out of pocket.
  3. Health Conditions: Medicare covers a wide range of health conditions, including many that are common in older adults. Enrolling before you turn 65 can help ensure that you have the coverage you need to access the health care services you may need in the future.

Therefore, it is recommended to enroll in Medicare three months before your 65th birthday to ensure that your coverage begins on time and that you avoid potential penalties.


Now that you better understand how to apply for Medicare when turning 65, it’s time to start thinking about your next steps. If you plan on enrolling in Original Medicare (Part A and Part B), then you should sign up during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). This period starts three months before the month you turn 65 and ends three months after the month you turn 65. Remember that if you don’t enroll during your IEP, you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty.     

You can avoid this by signing up at least two weeks before your 65th birthday or during a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) if one applies to your situation. To learn more about how to apply for Medicare when turning 65, contact us today at 888.809.2440 to speak with a licensed representative here at Senior Healthcare Advisors for detailed advice on understanding your Medicare enrollment process. Our team would be happy to answer any questions and help point you in the right direction.            

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