Medicare Eligibility

Medicare eligibility begins, for most, at age 65. However, individuals who have been receiving Social Security disability benefits for at least 24 months are also eligible. There are also some other criteria that allows you to be eligible to receive Medicare benefits.

When Can I Enroll

Am I eligible for Medicare?

So, you can qualify for Medicare coverage at 65 if you are a US citizen or a permanent resident and you’ve lived here continuously for at least five years.

If you are under 65, you can also qualify if you meet these criteria: 

  • You are permanently disabled and you have been receiving Social Security disability income benefits for 24 months.
  • You have end-stage renal disease.
  • You have Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease).

Medicare eligibility for Part A

You are eligible for Medicare Part A coverage at no cost at age 65 as long as you or your spouse has worked for at least 10 years in the United States. 

If you haven’t worked for 10 years, you can still purchase Part A coverage. 

As long as you have already enrolled in Social Security, you will be automatically enrolled in Part A. If not, you will have to contact the Social Security office to enroll.

Your Medicare card will arrive around one month before you turn 65.

Medicare eligibility for Part B

The same eligibility requirements for Part A apply for Part B. 

However, there is a monthly premium for Medicare Part B. This premium is determined by Medicare and could be higher based on income.

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Eligibility for Part C

To be eligible for Medicare Part C, or Medicare Advantage, you must first be enrolled in Medicare Part A and B. Once your Medicare Part A and Part B start dates  are determined you can begin to enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan.

Part D eligibility

You are eligible for Part D as long as you are enrolled in either Part A or B. You can enroll in a Part D with only Part A. You can also enroll in a Part D plan with only Part B.

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Do I have to sign up for Medicare?

Lots of people ask if they have to enroll in Medicare. You do not, but if you do not have other health insurance coverage, there will be penalties for delaying your Medicare enrollment. Usually, as long as you worked 10 years in the U.S., Part A is free. Also, if you enroll into Social Security income benefits, you will be automatically enrolled into Medicare Part A once you turn 65.