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March 22, 2022
Can you decline Medicare?

Can you decline Medicare?

You know what they say: 65 is the new 50. Okay, they might not be saying that all the time, but it is applicable to how you might be feeling if you’re facing your 65th birthday.

You might still be working, or you might not have plans to retire anytime soon.  

Do you need to enroll in Medicare, or can you decline? That’s the question we’re here to answer today. We going to answer it and look at the pros and cons. And if you still have any questions, you should check out the companion article to this one that looks at Medicare requirements.

Can you decline Medicare?

The short answer is yes, you can decline Medicare.

However, there are a lot of variables that go into that. Why are you declining Medicare? Is it a temporary decision based on feeling you don’t need it yet? Are you still working? Do you plan to get Medicare later?

These are all important things you should consider before you decline coverage by Medicare, because it might have hefty consequences later on.

Our licensed agents here at Medicare Allies can help you compare your options and ensure you don't miss critical enrollment periods.

Is it mandatory to get Medicare?

No, Medicare is not mandatory, but it is extremely useful.

Medicare covers health care costs for those over 65. As you age, you are likely to need medical care at some point. Declining Medicare could leave you to foot the bill.

Plus, if you have been working, you’ve been paying into Medicare through taxes on your paychecks. While the choice is ultimately yours, it is recommended to carefully review your options first.

Is it mandatory to get Medicare at 65?

Medicare is not mandatory at any age and not at 65.

There are a variety of reasons someone might decline or delay their Medicare enrollment. One reason might be that they still have insurance through their workplace, their partner’s workplace, or another viable source.

If you have a creditable insurance option, you can delay your enrollment without any penalties.

Do you need Medicare if you’re working past 65?

If you plan on working after 65, you should provide the Medicare office with proof of insurance to avoid late enrollment fees when you do decide to enroll.

Once you retire, you will have an enrollment period to review your options and decide on your Medicare coverage.  

Do I need Medicare if I have other insurance?

If you have another creditable insurance, you can delay or decline enrollment in Medicare for as long as you have that insurance.

Creditable insurance is defined as medical insurance that covers at least the same benefits that Part A Medicare covers. Part A is hospital and emergency care. It is considered the minimum care a senior should have. If you have an insurance that covers that, then it is creditable.

Can I decline Medicare if I am a veteran?

If you are a veteran and are getting your insurance through the VA, you can decline because of that coverage. However, the VA recommends switching to Medicare as soon as you are eligible.

If you have TRICARE, you can have both that and Medicare concurrently. You just need to notify TRICARE and adjust your plan. Through this option, any VA-approved costs go through them, and any civilian costs go through Medicare. They do not combine coverage.

Reach out to your local VA office if you have any questions about TRICARE and Medicare.  

What happens if I decline Medicare?

If you decline Medicare, you might be opening yourself up to some hefty late enrollment fees down the road. Late enrollment fees are applied when you do not sign up during your Initial Enrollment Period.

Our agents can help you make the right decision for your needs and budget while ensuring you don't run into penalties or late enrollment fees.

Part A late enrollment penalty

If you have to pay for Part A because you do not qualify for the premium-free Part A, then you will have late fees for signing up after your IEP.

Related: Save the Date for These Medicare Deadlines

Your monthly premium may go up as much as 10% and you will have to pay this fee for twice the number of years you did not sign up. So, if you wait two years to enroll, you will have Part A fees for four years.  

Part B late enrollment penalty

If you didn’t enroll in Part B when you were first eligible, your premium may go up 10% for each 12-month period you could’ve had Part B.

But, unlike Part A, this doesn’t end after a couple years. This payment increase is for the entire time you have Medicare — which is essentially for the rest of your life.  

If you meet certain criteria, such as continued employment after 65 with health insurance, these fees may be waived.  


While it is possible to decline Medicare coverage, it is not a decision you should make lightly.

If you are unsure about what to do or would like expert assistance in creating your Medicare plan, we are here for you. We’ve seen every situation, and we can help you navigate these crucial decisions. Give us a shout today at 833-801-7999.

Luke Hockaday
Luke Hockaday
Luke Hockaday is a Customer Success Rep here at Senior Allies. Luke has been helping Medicare-eligible clients with their insurance and retirement-planning needs since 2011. Luke is passionate about 3 things, and 3 things only: senior insurance, football, and food!

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