If I delay receiving Social Security benefits, should I still sign up for Medicare at age 65?

Even if you plan on waiting until full retirement age or later to receive Social Security retirement benefits, consider signing up for Medicare. If you're 65 or older and aren't yet receiving Social Security benefits, you won't be automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. You can sign up for Medicare when you first become eligible during your seven-month Initial Enrollment Period. This period begins three months before the month you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65, and ends three months after the month you turn 65.

Because Medicare Part A is premium-free for most people, you should consider enrolling in Part A, even if you delay enrolling in Part B. Some people decide not to enroll in Part B when they're first eligible because they have other health coverage through an employer or another source.

The Social Security Administration recommends contacting them to sign up three months before you reach age 65, because signing up early helps you avoid a delay in coverage. For your Medicare coverage to begin the month you turn 65, you must sign up during the three months before the month you turn 65. If you enroll during the month you turn 65 or one to three months after, your coverage will start the first day of the following month. If you don't enroll during your Initial Enrollment Period, you may pay a higher premium for Part B coverage later, unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. To learn more, visit the Medicare website medicare.gov, or call the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213.