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Who is Eligible for Medicare?

It’s never too early to start thinking about Medicare. And planning can be easier if you know exactly when you’ll be eligible for the coverage you’ve worked so hard to earn.

Who is Eligible for Medicare?

Turning 65 isn’t the only qualification

Originally designed to provide health care coverage for retired people 65 or older, Medicare’s coverage has since expanded to include other special circumstances.

You are eligible for Medicare if you meet any of these criteria:

  • You are 65 years old or older and a U.S. citizen (or legal resident for at least two years)
  • You are under 65 and have a qualifying disability. Medicare eligibility begins after 24 months of receiving Social Security disability benefits
  • You have end-stage renal disease (ESRD) or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). There are special Medicare eligibility rules for people with these conditions

You won’t pay a premium for Medicare Part A if you’re 65 years old and you or your spouse paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years. Although most people will not pay a premium for Part A, there is a monthly cost for Part B. Generally, the Part B premium is taken out of your monthly Social Security benefit.

Enrollment for Medicare Part A and/or B

Even if you plan to continue working, you should still enroll in Medicare Part A when you turn 65. You can enroll in Part B during your Initial Enrollment Period. This is a 7-month period that includes the three months before your 65th birthday month, your birthday month, and the three months after your 65th birthday month.

enrollment period chart enrollment period chart

If you decline Part B during your Initial Enrollment Period and enroll later, you may pay a penalty. This late enrollment penalty does not apply if you are still working, employed by a company with 20 or more employees, and covered by your workplace health plan. In that case, you will be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period when you retire.

Want to know when you’ll be eligible?

The official Medicare website features a Medicare Eligibility Calculatorexternal link icon that can tell you if you are eligible for Medicare now – or when you will be eligible.

IMPORTANT: If you are eligible for a Retiree Group Medicare plan, some of this information may not apply to you. Please ask your employer or benefit administrator about your Medicare options, eligibility and enrollment information.

Get Your Medicare Timeline

Answer a few simple questions and we’ll provide you with a personalized timeline. You’ll also receive reminders with important information and actions you can take to stay on track as you near your Medicare eligibility.

Create My Timeline →

Questions? Let us help.

As our valued member, you have access to exclusive resources and assistance. We’re here to help you make a smooth transition to Medicare. Call us to learn more.

1-800-000-0000 (TTY 711)

We’re open between 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., local time, 7 days a week. If you’re calling from April 1 through September 30, alternate technologies (for example, voicemail) will be used on the weekends and holidays.

This Information is a solicitation for insurance.

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