Medicare Annual Enrollment Period: October 15 - December 7

10,000 Americans Turn 65 Every Day

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10,000 Americans Turn 65 Every Day…and They Need to Sign Up for Medicare

Did you know that Medicare.gov has a toll-free number, 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) that you can call any time to ask for information or help about signing up?

You can call any time, but that doesn’t mean that anyone will pick up the phone . . . though you can leave your number and request a return phone call. In fairness, if you do get to talk to someone, the person you get will be kind and helpful.  But there is a very logical reason it is so difficult to get information when you need it:

So many people need information that Medicare.gov cannot possibly keep up with the demand for advice or information.

That explains why Medicare.gov does have a list of FAQs on its page. The problem, as you might have noticed, is that FAQs, though informative, never seem to answer your specific question. (Try to find an answer for, “I have Medicare part D, and my wife wants to sign up for that too . . . can we both be on the same policy?” You can try, but you’re not going to find that question answered, or many others either.)

Clamoring for Information at the Government’s Door

So, how many people need immediate answers to their questions about Medicare? More than you probably realize because the number of Americans age 65+ is increasing at an astonishing rate.

Here are some statistics that put the demand in perspective:

The number of Americans who are age 65 and older is surging. In fact, the 65-and-older population grew by 34.2% (or 13,787,044 individuals) during the past decade, and also by 3.2% (1,688,924) from 2018 to 2019. And about 10,000 Americans turn age 65 every single day.

Source: The U.S. Census Bureau

The biggest clusters of older Americans are clumped together in certain states. In 2019, 20% of the people in Maine, Florida, West Virginia, and Vermont were age 65 or older. Maine had the largest share (21.2%), followed by Florida (20.9%), West Virginia (20.5%), and Vermont (20.0%). And we bet you thought the majority of older Americans lived in Florida.

Source: The U.S. Census Bureau

By the year 2020, all baby boomers have reached age 65 or older. This is obvious math since by definition baby boomers were born between 1946 and 1964. But it’s not all obvious. Today, there are about 73 million of them.

Source: The U.S. Census Bureau

The elder population is itself fragmented by age. Since 1900, the percentage of Americans aged 65 and older nearly quadrupled (from 4.1% in 1900 to 16% in 2019), and the number increased more than 17 times (from 3.1 million to 54.1 million).

Source: The 2020 Profile of Older Americans, published by the Administration for Community Living

And the older population itself has become increasingly older. In 2019, the 65-74 age group (31.5 million) was more than 14 times larger than in 1900 (2,186,767); the 75-84 group (16 million) was 20 times larger (771,369), and the 85+ group (6.6 million) was more than 53 times larger (122,362).

Source: The 2020 Profile of Older Americans, published by the Administration for Community Living

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