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Existing health problems will not hinder Medicare Part B enrollment

Q: I enrolled in Medicare Part A (Hospital) at age 65, but not Part B (Medical) because I was still working and had good health insurance through my employer. Now age 67, I will soon be retiring, in part due to some health problems. Can those health problems prevent me from getting Medicare Part B coverage?

A: Existing health problems will not prevent your enrollment in Medicare.

Many people think of Medicare as beginning only at age 65, but certain people younger than age 65 can qualify for Medicare, including those who have disabilities, permanent kidney failure or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease).

People receiving Social Security benefits based on their own disability become eligible for Medicare after two years. These people all have existing health problems.

Having employer coverage from current employment is the usual reason for not enrolling in Part B immediately at age 65.

Since you did not enroll in Medicare Part B because of existing employer coverage, upon retirement you can enroll anytime during the year without premium penalty.

Enroll at least two to three months before retiring. This allows time for your local Social Security office to work with your existing health insurance to have the Medicare Part B effective upon your retirement.

More about Medicare enrollment is in the Medicare area of the Social Security website, and in the publication Medicare at The Medicare website,, has coverage details.

Did you know? Do you or your organization need copies of SSA publications? You can request these directly online at at no charge.

Towards the bottom of the homepage, go to the “Items of Interest” section and click on the Publications link. Along with downloadable PDF versions, there are instructions for ordering print copies of many SSA publications.

Based in Grand Forks, Howard I. Kossover is the Social Security Public Affairs Specialist for North Dakota and western Minnesota.  Send general interest questions to him at Read his online articles at