If I Retire at Age 62, Will I Be Eligible for Medicare at That Time?
What is the Medicare eligible age?
You may decide to retire at 62 because you can start collecting Social Security at that age and you feel ready to move on to a new stage in life. According to the Social Security Administration, you may start receiving retirement benefits as early as age 62. Your employer health benefits will likely end when you retire and you may wonder about your Medicare eligibility age.
Medicare is the government health care program for people age 65 and older and people younger than 65 with certain disabilities. Your Medicare eligible age is not correlated to when you retire and retiring early will not make you eligible for Medicare. Generally the only ways to be eligible for Medicare before age 65 is to:
- Have end-stage renal disease
- Have ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
- Have a disability and have been receiving Social Security disability benefits for at least 24 months
If you retire at 62 and do not have a disability, you will generally have to wait three years for Medicare coverage. You can look on eHealth for an affordable individual or family health insurance plan as you wait to reach your Medicare eligible age.
There are certain advantages to waiting to retire beyond age 62 besides reaching the Medicare eligible age. If you retire early, your benefits are reduced a fraction of a percent for each month before your full retirement age, according to the Social Security Administration. The amount your benefit will be reduced depends on your year of birth.
What should I do as I am waiting to reach the Medicare eligible age?
If you retire at 62, your wait for your Medicare eligible age may only be 3 years. As you wait, you can start researching about Medicare so that you are prepared to make well-informed coverage decisions. For example, you may not know that:
- Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) doesn’t generally cover prescription drugs you take at home. You can get coverage for prescription drugs through Medicare Part D, which is offered by private insurance companies contracted with Medicare.
- Original Medicare generally doesn’t cover routine dental, hearing aids, or eyeglasses. You may be able to get coverage for these benefits through a Medicare Advantage plan offered by a private insurance company. Medicare Advantage plans must cover everything Original Medicare covers, with the exception of hospice care, which is still covered by Part A.
- Original Medicare has no out-of-pocket maximum. To get help paying for out-of-pocket costs such as copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles, you can get a Medicare Supplement insurance plan, also offered by private insurance companies.