People qualify for Medicare benefits in one of three ways:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Certain illnesses

Medicare for people turning 65

Most people know that when they turn 65 they can start receiving Medicare. In general, you are eligible at 65 if you or your spouse worked and paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years. You can get Part A at age 65 without having to pay premiums if you:

  • Receive retirement benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board
  • Are eligible to receive Social Security or Railroad benefits but you have not yet filed
  • Had Medicare-covered government employment (you or your spouse)

If you qualify for Medicare this way, your Initial Enrollment Period will begin three months before the month you turn 65.

If you (or your spouse) did not pay Medicare taxes while you worked, and you are age 65 or older and a citizen or permanent resident of the United States, you may still be able to buy Part A.

Medicare for People Under 65 & Disabled

An individual can qualify for Medicare when they are under the age of 65 if they have certain disabilities.

Most Medicare recipients under the age of 65 are eligibile during their 25th month of receiving Social Security disability benefits. If you qualify for Medicare because of a disability, your Initial Enrollment Period will begin during the 22nd month you receive these benefits—three months before you’re eligible for coverage.

Medicare for People Under 65 with Certain Illnesses

In addition to age, specifically turning 65, or having a qualifying disability, individuals can qualify for Medicare if they have certain illnesses such as ERD or ALS.

  • End-stage renal disease. To qualify, you must need regular dialysis or a kidney transplant. Your coverage can start shortly after your first dialysis treatment. One thing to note, ff you receive a transplant but no longer require dialysis, you will lose Medicare eligibility.
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, patients diagnosed with this terminal disease gain immediate Medicare eligibility.

If you are not sure whether or not you qualify, contact or licensed specialists to see what benefits you might be eligible for.