Q:

What should you know about Social Security, Medicare and turning 65?

A:

Quick Answer

People who begin receiving monthly Social Security benefits at age 65 receive less in monthly payments than if they wait until full retirement age, reports the Social Security Administration. However, if they do not sign up for Medicare Part B by age 65, they must pay a higher premium later.

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Full Answer

Although people can start receiving Social Security benefits as early as age 62, they receive permanently reduced payments based on the amount of time they receive benefits before full retirement age, explains the Social Security Administration. For instance, if a person whose full retirement age is 66 begins receiving benefits at age 65, he loses 6.7 percent of his full monthly benefit amount. If he delays receiving benefits past his full retirement age, he can accumulate delayed retirement credits. If he waits to receive benefits until age 70, he receives 132 percent of his normal full benefit amount.

People who accumulate enough tax credits through employment receive Medicare Part A hospital insurance premium-free and should sign up for Medicare Part A when they turn 65 even if they do not retire at that time, according to the Social Security Administration. Everyone pays a premium for optional Medicare Part B, but if people sign up for Part B at age 65, they pay lower premiums than if they sign up later. However, those 65 and over currently employed and enrolled in an employer health plan may be able to delay enrollment in Medicare Part B without penalty.

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