The Help Desk

Your tough questions. MONEY's smart answers.
Presented by

When should I apply for Medicare?

December 6, 2012: 6:30 AM ET

I'm planning on retiring when I turn 65, which is in five months. Do I wait until I'm 65 to apply for Medicare? – Sharon V.

If you're already receiving Social Security benefits, you'll be automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B when you turn 65, says James Long, a licensed health insurance agent at Young's Insurance Services in Eagleville, Penn.

If you're not receiving Social Security benefits, however, consider signing up soon. As does the Social Security Administration, Long recommends that you apply three months before your 65th birthday to ensure your coverage begins the month you turn 65.

You can apply for Medicare online through the Social Security Administration's website or by calling 800-772-1213. Alternatively, just pop into your local Social Security office and do it in person.

— Marc Mewshaw

Got a question for the Help Desk? Send it to helpdesk@cnnmoney.com.

Posted in: Family Money, Retirement
Join the Conversation
Help Desk

Got a question about your money? We want to hear it! Each week we're answering your questions on CNN, Headline News and CNNMoney.com.

Your email or phone number won't be published; we'll use it to get in touch if we need more information about your question.
Help Desk Video
  • NEXT
    Not enough money in America's 401(k)s
    Despite the surging stock market bringing balances to record highs, the average Fidelity 401(k) account has less than $100,000 in it. That's just not enough. Play
  • NEXT
    BACK
    Explaining Obama's myRA
    President Obama unveiled a new savings plan for retirement accounts, aimed at encouraging people to start building their nest egg. But how exactly does it work? Play
  • NEXT
    BACK
    Tricks on how to save in your 20s
    Saving for your retirement in your 20s doesn't have to be a financial burden. Prioritizing your expenses is usually the first step in building a nest egg. Play
  • BACK
    Don't get fooled by Black Friday sales
    Here are some of the tricks that retailers use to make you think you're getting a deal. Keep an eye out for them while shopping this Black Friday. Play
Best Tips
Some of the nation's leading business owners, investors, and thinkers share their thoughts on rebuilding your wealth. More
These strategies can help you manage the challenges -- both emotional and financial -- of helping an aging parent from afar. More
You don't need to be fanatical to get to 780. Those in the know say these moves matter most. More
Featured Newsletters

Tips for saving and spending smarter.

Search This Column
View all entries from this: Week, Month
Help Desk
More help for your career, your investments and your budget.
Powered by WordPress.com VIP.