Medicare is the government-sponsored insurance system available to retirees, as well as some other parties such as those who are disabled and unable to work. Requirements for Medicare signup can be strict, and only certain people qualify for coverage.
Are you one of these people? Read on for a quick overview of the major qualifications for Medicare.
What You Should Know About Medicare Signup Requirements
I. If you’re 65+ years of age
If you will be at least 65 years old by the time of the Medicare signup window, you probably qualify for full benefits. This is assuming you are:
- Either a US Citizen or a Permanent Resident who has lived in the US for at least five years.
- You are collecting Social Security benefits or are at least eligible for SSI benefits even if you have not taken them yet.
- Or, if you or your spouse are government employees who have paid Medicare payroll taxes during your career.
II. If you are younger than 65
People below 65 may still be able to qualify for Medicare coverage, in certain situations, such as:
- If you have qualified for Social Security disability payments for at least 24 months, either consecutively or non-consecutively.
- If you receive a pension from the Railroad Retirement Board.
- If you have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) which automatically qualifies you.
- Or if you have experienced kidney failure requiring either a transplant or permanent dialysis, and you have also paid into Social Security for certain periods.
III. Other options
What if you are over 65, but have not paid enough into Social Security to receive benefits? If you are a citizen or Permanent Resident of at least five years, you still have an option.
It’s possible to pay extra to receive Medicare Parts A, B, or D. The exact amount you have to pay will depend on how many work credits you have, or how much you’ve paid into SSI. The maximum possible premium for 2021 is $471/month for Part A. Premiums for Part B and D are based on your earnings.
You can purchase Part B coverage separately, or A and B together. You cannot purchase Part A alone. Enrolling in Part D is an option if you are also enrolled in A or B.
Learn More About Your Medicare Options