How to Decide if You Should Apply for Medicare while You are Still Working

While most Americans can’t wait to enroll in Medicare when they become eligible right around age 65, some wonder what they should do about Medicare if they keep working past the age of 65 or whether they need to apply for Medicare if they are still working? The right decision really comes down to individual circumstances. Many 65-year-old kupuna are still working and may have robust private health insurance that they don’t want to or aren’t sure about giving up. When it comes to Medicare, most seniors begin by making a decision about whether to enroll in the two parts of Original Medicare: Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance).

How to Decide if You Should Apply for Medicare While You are Still Working


Read through the following information to help make a decision about when to apply for Medicare if you are still working. There is no one size fits all answer; you may decide to enroll in Medicare Part A, Part B or both. Or, you may be in a position to delay enrolling in any part of Medicare until you are ready to retire.


Enrolling in Medicare Part A


If you or your spouse worked at least 10 years (40 quarters), have been an American citizen or permanent legal resident for at least five years, and paid Medicare taxes during that time, you qualify for premium-free Medicare Part A. You will be automatically enrolled at age 65, even if you are still working.


On the other hand, if you do not qualify for premium-free Medicare Part A, it may make sense to delay enrollment if you already have creditable* health insurance through your employer or other means. If you are not eligible for premium-free Part A, delaying enrollment without creditable health coverage can lead to a late-enrollment penalty later when you do enroll.