Six key Medicare questions

Get answers to questions about eligibility, choices, costs, and when and how to sign up.

1. When am I eligible?

Normally, your health insurance coverage under Medicare begins when you reach age 65. However, you also may be eligible for Medicare at any age if you are diagnosed with end-stage renal disease or another qualifying disability.

When you do become eligible, you’ll want to remember to sign up within the seven-month time frame that begins three months before the month you turn 65 and ends three months after the month you turn 65. “If you miss this initial deadline, your coverage will be delayed because you’ll have to wait until the next January to March general enrollment period and your coverage won’t be effective until the following July,” Czarnowski cautions. You also may have to pay more for some of your coverage. You can enroll on the phone or at your local Social Security office.

If you’re still working when you’re 65 and get health insurance through your employer or your spouse’s employer, you don’t have to enroll right away, as long as you can prove that you had this coverage when you sign up later on.

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