Can I get Medicare coverage if I don't sign up for Social Security at 65?

Who is this for?

Learn more about how Medicare works.

If you're not planning on signing up for Social Security right away, you can still enroll in Medicare. Learn how here.

These days, people are retiring later in life than their parents did. If you’re still working, you might not want to start collecting Social Security benefits right when you turn 65.

But you can enroll in Medicare at 65 even if you’re not getting Social Security. In some cases, signing up for Medicare as soon as you’re eligible is better than waiting.

Here’s why:

  • Medicare might have better coverage than your health insurance plan through work. 
  • If you don’t have a comparable health insurance plan and you wait to sign up for Medicare, your Medicare premiums will be higher when you do sign up.

Should I sign up for Medicare Part A?

Most people who have worked and paid Medicare taxes for 10 years can get Medicare Part A with no monthly premium. Because of this, many people choose to sign up for Medicare Part A even if they have health insurance through work.

Medicare Part A covers things like hospice care and skilled nursing facility care that your health plan through work might not cover.

When you’re getting Social Security benefits, you’re automatically signed up for Part A. If you’re not getting Social Security, you should sign up directly through Social Security. Find out how to sign up in our Help Center.

Tip: Always talk to your company's human resources department before you make the decision to sign up for Medicare. Your health insurance plan might work differently for you after you sign up for Medicare.

Should I sign up for Medicare Part B?

If you’re still working and have health insurance through your employer, you might not need to sign up for Medicare Part B right when you turn 65.

That’s because your health insurance plan probably provides coverage that’s at least as good as what Medicare Part B would give you.

If that’s the case, you qualify for a special enrollment period. That means you have eight months after your health insurance through work ends to sign up for Medicare Part B.

Tip: Always check with Social Security to make sure you're eligible for a special enrollment period. You can find their phone number on our Contact Us page.