Why Am I Being Forced into Medicare at Age 65?

Every American Aged 65 or Older is Eligible for Medicare

Senior man being examined by his doctor
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Every American that is aged 65 years or older is eligible for Medicare. Not everyone 65 years of older wants to receive Medicare however. In fact, many individuals feel like that are being forced into Medicare at the age of 65 against their own personal wishes. Why is this the case?

Why Am I Being Forced into Medicare at Age 65?

Every American aged 65 years old or older is eligible for Medicare. Once you hit 65, you become automatically eligible; it is unavoidable.

Those who receive Social Security benefits are automatically enrolled in Medicare. There is no way to opt out of Medicare once you are 65 if you receive Social Security. Either you enroll in Medicare Part A, or you forfeit your Social Security benefits. Most individuals are unwilling to forfeit their Social Security benefits, and thus accept the enrollment into Medicare.

There is a great deal of speculation as to why the system is set up in this manner, but unfortunately, there is no clear or direct answer. Perhaps this policy was initially instituted to make it easier for seniors to enroll in Medicare once they reached they age of 65, but was never discontinued when private coverage became more commonplace. Private coverage did not use to be as common as it currently is, which would leave many elderly individuals without health care. This presented an issue when they inevitably need health care.

Regardless of why the system is set up in the manner that it is, the rules are the rules, and they are not very likely to change in the near future. Thus, it is important to understand Medicare.

Termination of Company-Based Coverage at 65

Many companies which offer retiree health benefits will terminate your coverage when you turn 65 because they know that you now have access to Medicare.

In this case, even if the government weren't forcing you to choose between Social Security and keeping your private health coverage, your company would be making the decision for you! Without coverage from your company, you basically need Medicare to ensure that you are covered for potential issues that come with old age.

Some companies will not cut an individual off completely at the age of 65, but instead continue to offer supplemental retiree benefits, which can be used in conjunction with Medicare. This process can help individuals make the jump from company-based health coverage to Medicare. These benefits may include prescription drug coverage, doctor visits, and other outpatient health care. Medicare must still be your primary coverage, but you can have private supplemental coverage.

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