Should you Delay Enrolling in Medicare?

Read this before enrolling in Original Medicare

by Amy De Vore+ on Apr 23, 2018 | 11 Comments

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Most people are automatically enrolled in Medicare part A and B at 65, but should you delay? While there are very few circumstances where one would delay Medicare Part A, there are reasons you would want to delay part B.  Under the right special conditions, it can save you a lot of money on Part B premiums.  If you delay B but don’t qualify for special conditions for the delay, however, you may end up playing a penalty…for life! So, as you guessed, delaying Part B depends on your situation.

This article was updated on April 23, 2018

Why would you Delay Part B?

While Medicare Part A typically does not have a monthly fee, Medicare Part B almost always does.  You can save paying for that fee by delaying enrollment into Medicare Part B until your work or your retiree health insurance ends. If you have credible coverage through work, part B would usually be redundant.

Delaying part B has a secondary advantage as well.  If you have qualifying insurance through work and delay your Part B, your initial enrollment period for Medigap and Medicare Advantage begins when you enroll in Part B (which could be years down the line). For those who sign up for Part B when first elegible their 4 to 6 month window starts ticking based on their part B effective date. Check out your Medicare Insurance deadline calculator here  So to recap: 1) You save money each month, and 2) You get a later enrollment period if you delay part B.

NOTE: Never delay your Medicare Part B if you do not have creditable coverage through an employer or similar.  Medicare penalizes those who miss this key deadline without work coverage.

You Don’t Have to be Automatically Enrolled in Medicare

Most people will be automatically enrolled in Medicare part A and B on their 65 birthday when they enroll to receive Social Security.  You can opt out of this “auto-enrollment” by not enrolling in Social Security when you first turn 65.

If you do enroll in Social Security, you can still opt out of Medicare Part B but it requires action on your part.


So, as you can see, enrolling in Medicare right when you turn 65 may or may not be the right option for you. Make sure to understand the insurance you have now, compare your costs, and decide which makes the most sense for you. For further questions about if you should enroll in Medicare when you turn 65 call 800-930-7956 or click here to get a Medicare Insurance quote.



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Reader Comments and Questions

By Jerome on March 15, 2020

My wife and I are over 66 (full retirement age) and working full time. We are covered under my employers high deductible H.S.A. medical insurance. We would like to start claiming social security but defer all Medicare (including Part A) while we are employed. How do we go about deferring the Medicare? Thanks Jerry

To start the process to defer Medicare contact the Center for Medicare Services at 1-800-633-4227. We typically recommend enrolling in Part A but deferring Part B while getting coverage through an employer.

Once you stop working, you will get a Special Enrollment period to enroll in Medicare, Medigap, Medicare Advantage and/or Part D. You will want to start the special enrollment process for your Medicare Part B a few months before your desired start date. Medicare should allow you to pick your start date in the future so you can time it to match when your work coverage ends. Nothing else is required beforehand.

After you get Medicare, you will probably want to purchase additional coverage such as Medicare Advantage (MA), Part D drugs, or a Medicare Supplement plan (Medigap). Since Medicare only covers 80% of your costs and does not cover drugs, having additional insurance up your sleeve just makes sense. We here at Senior65 can help you review and enroll in MA, Medigap and Part D over the phone. Just call us at 800-930-7956, there is no additional cost to you.
-Michelle from

By Gloria on August 20, 2019

Turning 65 in Nov and am currently covered by my spouses medical insurance. I want to delay part A & B. Is this possible as I cannot get a firm answer and whenever I call I have to be on hold for extended period of time. Thanks.

If you have credible coverage from your spouse's work, we recommend you do enroll in Part A and delay Part B until your spouse stops working. You will get a Special Enrollment Period to enroll in Medigap, Medicare Advantage or drugs.

When the time comes, give us a call to get you enrolled. We never charge for our services.
-Eric from

By Penny on June 17, 2019

I planned to retire January 6, 2020. I carry insurance thru my large company. My husband is on my plan now. We just signed him up for social security and part a. Delayed part b. Im too young for ss. I will go on cobra. SS rep told us to not bring paperwork for him until 1/2/20 to their office. Said if we drop off in Nov/Dec we would be lumped into open enrollment folks and coverage could be delayed 3 months. Our insurance ends day I retire. Should I retire 12/31/19 instead? I MUST have coverage start day after I retire along with supplemental insurance for husband. No delays. SS rep said we may not get card with # on it for 2-3 weeks after we drop off paperwork. Said supplemental insurance will want that number. That means my 1/6/20 date wouldnt work, right? How can I set up supplemental in that short of time? Would medicare and supplemental back date to 1/1/20 or start 2/1/20? I can adjust retirement date ton12/31/19 if that helps.

Your question is very specific and requires a somewhat complicated answer. Give us a call and we can walk you through your case and give recommendations.
-Eric from

By John on March 29, 2019

I'm approaching my 65th birthday and get my insurance through my wife's employer. They say I'll lose my coverage if I enroll in Medicare "major medical." Does that mean the free Part A, or just the Part B? My coverage through my wife's job costs us only $100 a month.

We are not sure what they meant by "Medicare Major Medical." Major Medical is usually something different than Medicare. You will have to ask them for clarification.

In general if you re insured through your wife's work, you will want to hold of enrolling on Medicare Part B and continue with her coverage. When she retires you will get a Special Enrollment Period in which you will be able to enroll in Medicare B with no penalties whatsoever.

When you get Medicare Part B, you will probably want to get a Medigap Plan to cover the 20% that Medicare doesn't, deductibles and copays. Give us a call then and we can review your guaranteed issued options.
-Michelle from

By Steve on March 05, 2019

I plan to retire December 31, 2019 I will be 67. Currently working fulltime now with great insurance. I did sign up at 65 for medicare part A. When do I apply for Part B coverage so it will take effect for January 2020? Thank you!

Hi Steve,
You will want to start the special enrollment process for your Medicare Part B a few months before your desired start date. Medicare should allow you to pick your start date in the future so you can time it to match when your work coverage ends.

One quick reminder, if you are interested in a Medigap plan F, you will want your coverage to start before January, because it will not be available to those who are newly Medicare eligible after 2020.

We help many of our customers time their work end with their new Medicare, Medicare Supplement and part d drug coverage so feel free to give us a call.
-Chris from

By Carol Deluca on December 03, 2016

I am enrolled in plan J and the premium is becoming prohibitive for me, thus I am considering changing to either plan G or plan F. First will I be permitted to switch plans? If yes could the switch only take place during the annual open enrollment period from Oct to Dec? What benefit will I lose if I change to plan G? what benefit will I lose if I change to plan F? What monetary saving would be gained by a switch? Thank you for your consideration.

In most states, you will have to go through medical underwriting to switch from Medigap Plan J to another plan. If you have pre-existing conditions you could be denied or charged more. Remember that Medicare's Annual Election Period (Oct 15 -Dec 7) is only to switch Medicare Advantage and Part D, or to rejoin Original Medicare, and has nothing to do with Medigap.

Plan G does not cover the Part B deductible, Plan F offers everything that can covered by Medigap plans. Here is a Medicare Supplement comparison chart. That way you can see what is offered and not. Also, remember, Medigap plans now cover preventive care -whereas Plan J charges you for that.

For further help, call one of our Senior65 licensed independent insurance agents at 800-930-7956.
-Amy from

By J.C. Eaton on May 11, 2016

I will be 65 in July 2016. I am still working full time and have private insurance through my employer.I am not filing for social security until July 2017, and plan to still work full time before retirement. My question is, do I need to enroll in Part A and B and part F if I want to have these when I retire 3-4 years from now to avoid penalty. Also, do I need to enroll in Part D also even though my employer covers health insurance and has a prescription plan to avoid penalty. Since not collecting social security are these costs bank drafted? Do I sound confused?

We do know how confusing this can be. So here is a quick breakdown: you can enroll in Medicare Part A, but delay Part B and D (prescription drug coverage) if you have qualifying job-based insurance, and not be penalized. When you do retire, you can enroll in Part B and D, as well as, enroll in Medigap with guaranteed issuance. Hope this helps!

For any further questions, please call one of our Senior65 licensed independent insurance agents at 800-930-7956.
-Eric from

By Christina Imre on December 07, 2015

Just turned 65 and have health coverage through my large employer. don't want Medicare yet. Do I have to advise SSA or Medicare that I want to delay or opt out for now? If so, how do I do that? Any way to avoid the penalty? Thanks

You will need to let Medicare know that you are opting out of enrolling in Medicare Part B (usually you still enroll in Part A). You will not owe a penalty if you have qualifying health insurance. You'll want to can confirm if you work insurance is qualifying through your HR person. And you will contact CMS to delay your Part B coverage. Hope this helps!
-Amy from

By Maria on June 10, 2015

Good advice. Very solid.

By Chuck on May 05, 2015

I know you said it's a personal decision, BUT do you think it's better to go with an HSA or Medicare?

I know it sounds like a cop out, but it really is a personal decision to make. You have to weigh the benefits of an HSA against enrolling in Medicare and/or one of its health plans. But we're here to help. Please call us at 800-930-7956 and we can better assess your situation.
-Jacima from

By Henry on April 30, 2015

I'm 68, I have insurance through work, and am enrolled in Part B, should I cancel my Part B now?

That's a great question. While we suggest to confirm this with your HR person, usually once you're enrolled in Part B you do not want to disenroll. For further questions call us 800-930-7956.
-Michelle from

PLEASE NOTE: We cannot comment on specific Medicare claims. Contact Medicare directly if you are trying to see if your issue is covered.

We will not publish your last name or email if you submit this form.

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