Approaching 65? Apply for Medicare

By December 27, 2018 Personal Insurance

Often lost in the variety of widely discussed options for when to best start Social Security payments (As early as 62? As late as 70?) is a key issue: none of that discussion applies to Medicare.

Medicare is a different law with entirely separate sign-up requirements, tied specifically to your 65th birthday. Assuming you are not subject to specific special exceptions (already disabled and drawing Social Security benefits, for example), the law provides a seven-month window for your original Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) application:

The three months prior to the month of your 65th birthday

The month of your 65th birthday

The three months following the month of your 65th birthday.

You must apply for Medicare Part A during this window, even if you are not going to apply for Social Security until a later date.

For complete application information, including whether you are also required to sign up for Part B (Medical Insurance) at the same time as Part A, and/or any applicable penalties for failing to do so, go to the Medicare website at