(888) 335-8996

Speak with a Licensed Insurance Agent

Close this search box.

What Many 64-Year-Olds Don’t Know About Medicare – But Should

Medicare is a challenging topic. Further, many Americans approaching eligibility at age 64 – or already eligible and enrolled at 65 – don’t know what they need to about the federal health program.

Find Medicare Plans in 3 Easy Steps

Let us help you navigate your Medicare journey

In this case, what you don’t know can hurt you. Not being informed about Medicare can have an especially detrimental effect on the future of your finances. Read on to learn more about what you should know before turning 65 and leave your misconceptions about Medicare behind!

Insufficiently Informed About Medicare at 64

Unfortunately, a lack of knowledge about Medicare doesn’t stop people from enrolling once eligible. Results of such a choice can range from inadequate health coverage to feeling overwhelmed by the price of care.

In 2006, the California Health Care Foundation published results from a study on what 64-year-olds know about Medicare. Although this study is over a decade old and technology makes information more accessible now, the issues remain – especially with changes happening in Medicare all the time.

A mere 11% of Californians reported knowing at least most of what they should about Medicare. Yet, a whopping almost 60% admitted having little to no knowledge of the subject.

Further, nearly half reported not knowing where to find more information about Medicare. A key revelation of the study is that the Californians in the sample were receptive to learning more.

Medicare Misconceptions When Aging In

One big misconception is that every American automatically gets Medicare at age 65. Those who are collecting Social Security will automatically enroll in Part A and Medicare Part B. However, they will need to shop around for a Part D or Advantage plan to obtain prescription drug coverage.

If you’re not yet collecting Social Security when your 65th birthday comes around, you’ll need to sign up for Medicare through the Social Security Administration. It’s best to take advantage of your Initial Enrollment Period to do so.

While Medicare isn’t mandatory, picking it up after lacking creditable coverage once you’re eligible will cost you. Penalties also apply to prescription drug coverage. So, even if you don’t currently take prescription medications, putting off your coverage can cost even more in the long run.

Find Medicare Plans in 3 Easy Steps

Let us help you navigate your Medicare journey

The amount of cost-sharing that comes with Medicare coverage is a shock to many new beneficiaries. Premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance can add up over a short time on Original Medicare.

A Medicare enrollee may learn how Medigap policies can reduce cost-sharing after their Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment window closes. Consequently, their selection of plan options may be smaller.

Also, many people are surprised to find out Medicare won’t cover chronic needs or custodial care. Meaning, if you eventually need to live in a nursing home permanently, payment will be entirely out-of-pocket.

Yet, many people assume that Medicare will take care of at least a portion of these costs. As a result, they don’t plan financially for such expenses throughout their working years.


At what age should I start thinking about Medicare?
The sooner you start thinking and learning about Medicare, the better. When you turn 64, you’ll want to make sure you have a good understanding of how Medicare works and know your options.
Can a 64-year-old get Medicare?
While the eligibility age for Medicare is 65, it’s possible to qualify sooner. Americans under 65 can get Medicare if they receive SSDI for at least 24 months. Additionally, those diagnosed with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) qualify without a waiting period.
If I retire at age 64, can I get Medicare?
When you retire doesn’t matter in the context of Medicare eligibility. If you aren’t eligible due to a qualifying disability or illness before 65, you will age in at 65. It is common for people to delay Medicare until retirement due to having creditable coverage through an employer.
What should I know about Medicare by age 64?
By the time you’re 64, you should understand the basics of Medicare. Some of the most crucial information includes the penalties and how to avoid them, your Medigap options for help with cost-sharing, and the price of your desired health care coverage each year.

How to Learn About Medicare Before Turning 65

MedicareFAQ serves as a learning resource for Medicare beneficiaries and their families. We strive to educate people about Medicare to make informed decisions that benefit the future of their health and finances.

Call the phone number above if you’re ready to speak to someone about your Medicare coverage options. You can also use our online rate form to see premium prices for plans near you. We work with beneficiaries across the nation and are glad to help you find the best coverage available.

David Haass

David Haass

David Haass is the Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder of Elite Insurance Partners and MedicareFAQ.com. He is a member and regular contributor to Forbes Finance Council and stay up-to-date with the latest Medicare trends and changes. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Management from the University of Florida.
Ashlee Zareczny

Ashlee Zareczny

Compliance Manager
Ashlee Zareczny is the Compliance Manager for MedicareFAQ. As a licensed Medicare agent in all 50 states, she is dedicated to educating those eligible for Medicare by providing the necessary resources and tools. Additionally, Ashlee trains new and tenured Medicare agents on CMS compliance guidelines. Ashlee is a Medicare expert who specializes in Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage, and Medicare Part D education.

3 thoughts on "What Many 64-Year-Olds Don’t Know About Medicare – But Should"

  1. If I am enrolled, and plan to continue to be enrolled in a company-sponsored group plan (with an HSA), am I obligated to sign up for Medicare?

    1. Hello Mike,

      You are never obligated to sign up for Medicare, however, if you don’t sign up for Medicare Part B without creditable coverage as soon as you are eligible, you will face a lifetime penalty. While this is not universal, it’s likely you have premium-free Medicare Part A. The best thing to do is speak with a licensed insurance agent to find the coverage that is right for you to avoid penalties or gaps in coverage.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

string(3) "Yes"

5.0 Satisfaction Rating

It’s free and no obligation!

Find the Most Affordable Medicare Plans in your Area