Every U.S. resident is eligible for Medicare benefits upon their 65th birthday. Younger individuals who have been receiving disability benefits from Social Security for a minimum of 24 months are also eligible for Medicare. This also applies to individuals with certain conditions like End-Stage Renal Disease and Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
Am I eligible for Medicare?
If you are either a U.S. citizen or have been a legal, permanent resident for five straight years and 65 years old, you are eligible for Medicare.
If you are under 65 but have been collecting disability benefits from Social Security for at least 24 months, you are eligible for Medicare.
Lastly, if you have End-Stage Renal Disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), are on kidney dialysis, or have had a kidney transplant, you are eligible for Medicare.
Medicare eligibility for Part A
Every United States citizen qualifies for Medicare Part A upon turning 65. Permanent legal residents of five years, younger individuals with specific disabilities, and those with conditions like End-Stage Renal Disease or Lou Gehrig’s Disease also qualify. Individuals already collecting retirement benefits from the Social Security Administration or the Railroad Retirement Board will automatically be enrolled in Medicare. Others will need to apply for Part A with the social security office.
If you or your spouse has been employed and paid Medicare taxes for 10 years – or 40 quarters – you will receive Part A at no additional cost.
Medicare eligibility for Part B
Medicare Part B has the same eligibility requirements as Part A. However, there is a standard monthly premium for Part B. Individuals who are considered “high earners” will pay a higher premium. This is calculated based on the individual’s adjusted gross income from two years prior.
Eligibility for Part C
All Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B are eligible to enroll in Medicare Part C.
The only exception is those with End-Stage Renal Disease. These individuals are not eligible for a Part C plan.
Part D eligibility
All Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in Original Medicare Parts A and B are eligible to enroll in a Medicare Part D plan.
Do I have to sign up for Medicare?
You are not obligated to enroll in Medicare. However, there are considerations to think about before opting out.
Unless you continue to have creditable health insurance after you turn 65, you’ll begin to incur late enrollment penalties. That means that if you decide to enroll at a later date, you could be facing higher premiums. These penalties stick with you for life.
Also, there is no cost for Part A. If you have other health insurance, Medicare will become your secondary coverage. Who doesn’t need more health insurance?