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.