Ask Phil: Do I have to get Medicare just because I turned 65?

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The screen fades to a shot of Phil Moeller against a blue backdrop. Phil speaks to the camera. A blue banner containing white text appears at the bottom left corner of the screen.

PHIL: Hi, I'm Phil Moeller. I spend a lot of time writing articles and books helping people understand Medicare, retirement, and aging.

ON SCREEN TEXT: Phil Moeller
                                 "Ask Phil, by UnitedHealthcare"

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PHIL: Digging into these subjects gives us a better chance to make more informed health care decisions, and with that in mind, let's explore a question I get asked a lot.

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PHIL: Do I have to get Medicare just because I turned 65?

ON SCREEN TEXT: "Do I have to get Medicare
                                  just because I turned 65?"

PHIL: That question is easy to ask, but not easy to answer, because, like a lot of things about Medicare, the answer is "It depends."

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PHIL: Say you're working, or your spouse is working, and you're covered by an active employer health plan. You turn 65. Do you need to get Medicare? In most cases, you don't. If the employer has more than 20 employees, you can continue using the employer health plan as long as you're covered by that plan, so you could be 65, 70, 75. However, you can get Medicare. So when people turn 65, they should take a careful look at their employer coverage and decide if it meets all their needs, and then see how getting Medicare, either in place of the employer plan or in addition to it, will affect their health care. The other wrinkle about Medicare is that, you know, there's no law that says you have to get Medicare when you're 65, or at any age. Of course, if you don't have health insurance, and you don't get Medicare, you're not gonna have health coverage. Most people want health coverage, so for that reason, most people do sign up for Medicare when they're first eligible.

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ON SCREEN TEXT: For more guidance from Phil, visit

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