Myth vs. Fact: You’re Automatically Enrolled in Medicare at 65

Did you know that in 2023, an average of nearly 67 million Americans per month received Social Security benefits and that almost 50 million were retirees?

As your 65th birthday gets closer, finding the right answers is important. Read on to learn everything you need to know about enrolling in Medicare.

Am I Automatically Enrolled in Medicare When I Turn 65?

The answer to this question depends on a few factors. Although most people will have to manually sign up for Medicare on their own, there are a few instances where you will automatically be enrolled.

For example, Medicare will start automatically when you turn 65 if you’ve received Railroad Retirement Benefits or Social Security Benefits for at least 4 months before your 65th birthday.

This means, if you currently receive benefit checks, you’ll automatically be enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B.

Enrolling in Medicare

Am I automatically enrolled in Medicare when I turn 65? If you don’t receive any benefits for the above reasons, you aren’t automatically enrolled.

If this relates to you, you might be wondering, “how do I sign up for Medicare when I turn 65?” There are three different enrollment periods: Initial Enrollment Period, General Enrollment Period, and Special Enrollment Period.

Initial Enrollment Period

The Initial Enrollment Period lasts for 7 months which is longer than other enrollment periods. 3 months before you turn 65 you should receive a letter about signing up.

You’ll have those 3 months, your birthday month, and 3 months after that before missing the enrollment period. If you miss it, you might have to wait and pay a late enrollment penalty.

The longer you wait, the higher the penalty will be.

Coverage will always begin on the first of the month. If you qualify for premium-free Part A Medicare services, your coverage will begin the month you turn 65.

However, for Part B Medicare and Premium Part A, the date that the coverage begins will depend on the month you signed up.

General Enrollment Period

The General Enrollment Period for Medicare each year is between the first of January and the last day of March. Medicare benefits and coverage begin on July 1st for those who sign up during this period.

If you don’t qualify for the Special Enrollment Period and miss the General Enrollment Period, you’ll pay a late fee.

Special Enrollment Period

The Special Enrollment Period is available for a limited time so if you miss this period, you’ll have to wait for the following General Enrollment Period. As a result, you may have to pay a late enrollment fee.

You’ll need to qualify to sign up during this period without paying a late enrollment fee. Special situations include:

  • You still work at a job that offers health insurance
  • You’re a volunteer in a foreign country
  • Situations with TRICARE

Coverage begins the month after you sign up through the Special Enrollment Period.

Is It Time to Sign Up for Medicare?

Am I automatically enrolled in Medicare when I turn 65? The answer is no for those who aren’t currently receiving Social Security and Railroad Retirement benefits. You’ll need to manually sign up.

If it’s time for you to sign up for Medicare, our factual guide will come in handy. As Medicare providers, we can answer all of your questions regarding this coverage. Contact us today to learn more.


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