The sooner you apply for Medicare, the better

Can I still file for Medicare at age 65?
This is a question we get at Social Security all the time. If you’re in your 60s, you probably know that the age to receive full retirement benefits has changed. However, it’s important to remember that the age to begin receiving Medicare has not — it is still 65. Even if you have decided to wait until after you are age 65 to apply for retirement benefits, most people should start getting Medicare coverage at age 65. This is especially true, if you don’t have insurance from your current employment situation.
If you would like to begin your Medicare coverage when you first become eligible, we suggest that you apply within three months of reaching age 65. You can do it online in as little as 10 minutes at
Why go online to apply for Medicare? Because it’s fast, easy, and secure. You don’t need an appointment and you can avoid waiting in traffic or in line. As long as you have ten minutes to spare, you have time to complete and submit your online Medicare application.
People who started receiving Social Security retirement or disability benefits before age 65 do not need to apply; they will be automatically enrolled in Medicare.
There is no additional charge for Medicare hospital insurance (Part A) since you already paid for it by working and paying Medicare tax. However, there is a monthly premium for medical insurance (Part B), for most $104.90 in 2013. If you already have other health insurance when you become eligible for Medicare, you should consider whether you want to apply for Medicare Parts A, B, and D. To learn more about Medicare and some options for choosing coverage, read the online publication, Medicare, at or visit

This article was written by Kirk Larson, a western Washington public affairs specialist for Social Security.