Medicare enrollment for ex-pats still working

Carole — France: Do you have to sign up for Medicare during the “turning 65” window (to avoid penalties) or can you wait if you are an expatriate covered by health insurance abroad?

Phil Moeller: Medicare says that any valid employer group health insurance coverage — here or abroad — is sufficient to permit a covered individual to defer signing up for Medicare when they turn 65, and instead to receive an eight-month special enrollment period when they later lose that coverage, due either to retirement or leaving their job for other reasons.

Social Security has consular offices in most countries, and there should be one in France staffed with someone familiar with French health insurance and Medicare enrollment rules. If not, you can always call the agency or even email it to raise this issue.