Speak with a licensed sales agent

1-800-991-4407 / TTY 711

Mon - Thurs 8am - 11pm EST
Friday 8am - 9pm EST


Enter Zip Code


Please enter your zip so we can connect you with a licensed agent in your area.

** Denotes Required Field

call-us increase-size decrease-size contact-us fullscreen minimize close

Explore Plans in Your Area

"easyMedicare made getting the coverage
I deserved easy and saved me a great deal of money."

- Joe Theismann

Joe Theismann - NFL MVP and Super Bowl Champion

Compare Medicare Plans

Receive your no-cost consultation with a licensed insurance agent*

"easyMedicare made getting the coverage I deserved easy and saved me a great deal of money."

- Joe Theismann

Joe Theismann - NFL MVP and Super Bowl Champion

Medicare and Retirement – Really, Do I Need Medicare?


It’s a question that makes for a great place to start the conversation about Medicare, especially if you see age 65 peeking over the horizon and you haven’t looked much into what this point of interest entails. But this isn’t some tourist trap that’ll leave you feeling like you wasted time and money. You could speed right past age 65, which is the first chance many people get to enroll in Medicare. But if you take time to stop and secure Medicare coverage, you’ll probably find peace of mind in knowing that you’re protected from whatever health issues you may face down the road.

So, Why Do I Need Medicare?

If your employer paid your car insurance every month, you’d probably want to find coverage on your own after you retire and no longer qualify for your employer's plan. It’s a similar situation with health insurance, but Medicare helps to simplify things and makes coverage affordable to just about anyone who qualifies.

The cost savings alone are a good reason why you do need Medicare. Just as employers often subsidize the cost of health insurance for their employees, the federal government does the same with health insurance. Plus, it’s highly likely you’ve been contributing to Medicare through payroll taxes for most or all of your professional career. Why not benefit from what you helped maintain?

So, Do I Need Medicare or Do I Not Need It?

You don’t need Medicare. But you do need healthcare, and Medicare offers some of the best value in health insurance for people who’ve retired:

Original Medicare covers your bases – you get Part A (Hospital Care) and Part B (Outpatient Care) to cover everything from primary and specialist care to urgent and emergency care.

Part A might be premium-free – if you’ve paid enough taxes towards the program, you could get Part A without having to pay a monthly premium.

Medicare Advantage enhances Original Medicare – Part C plans (Medicare Advantage) are offered by private insurers who build on Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) with additional benefits such as dental, vision, hearing and foot care.

Part D covers prescription drugs - if you take prescription medications, Medicare Part D can help you save some of that money and allow you to put it towards other things.

To learn more about the parts of Medicare, check out our library of Medicare videos - where we answer questions such as: do I need Medicare? What’s the difference between Medicare and Medicaid? How can I prepare to enroll in Medicare?

So, When Can I Enroll in Medicare?

You can’t enroll in Medicare any time of the year you want to, but your chance to enroll could arrive at any time of the calendar year. It all depends on your birthday at first, then the annual enrollment periods and then special circumstances that may give you another opportunity to enroll.

Happy 65th Birthday: Your Initial Enrollment Period

For most people, the first opportunity to enroll in Medicare comes at age 65. It’s known as the Initial Enrollment Period (IEP), and it offers you seven full months to research Medicare’s parts and plans before the enrollment period closes. As you get close to turning 65 years old, your IEP will kick off three whole months before your birth month. It’ll include your entire birth month, plus the three months that follow.

What Happens If I Don’t Enroll in Time?

You may face penalties if you don’t enroll in Medicare on time. These penalties may be applied to your Medicare premiums when you do get around to signing up for Medicare coverage.

What If I’m Not Ready to Retire at Age 65?

Just make sure the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is aware that you’re still employed and that you have adequate health insurance coverage. If CMS determines that you don’t have adequate coverage, you could still face penalties when you join Medicare. If your employer has less than 20 employees on the payroll, you’ll likely need to sign up for Medicare during your IEP to avoid penalties.

Year after Year: Yearly Enrollment Periods

After your IEP, you’ll get other opportunities to make changes to your Medicare coverage each year. The Annual Election Period, Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, will be your yearly opportunity to modify just about every element of your coverage. The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, Jan. 1 to March 31, lets you switch between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans.

In a Blue Moon: Special Enrollment Periods

While you shouldn’t count on a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) opening up, this type of enrollment could occur at any point throughout the year, besides the Annual Election Period, so you have a chance to change your coverage when your circumstances change.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services may decide to grant an SEP to people to account for any of the following circumstances:

  • Termination of a Medicare plan – the Medicare plan you’re on is terminated by CMS or the private insurance provider.
  • Loss of group plan coverage – you retire, you run out of COBRA coverage, or your employer terminates the group plan.
  • Relocation – you move to a location where your current plan isn’t available.
  • Better plans – a higher-rated plan launches in your service area.
  • Long-term care – you enter or exit a long-term care facility.
  • And more

Keep reading to discover how you can enroll in Medicare and find answers to more frequently asked questions.