Medicare Eligibility

Who Can Enroll?

Who is Eligible to receive Medicare?

U.S. citizens and qualified legal residents* that are:

  • Age 65 or older
  • Younger than 65 with a qualifying disability
  • Any age with a diagnosis of End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, also called Lou Gehrig’s Disease)

To see if you’re eligible go here: www.medicare.gov/eligibilitypremiumcalc/#eligibility

*To qualify as a legal resident, you must have lived in the United States for at least 5 years in a row before applying for Medicare.

Check eligibility

Some get Part A and Part B automatically

If you’re already getting benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB), you’ll automatically get Part A and Part B starting the first day of the month you turn 65. (If your birthday is on the first day of the month, Part A and Part B will start the first day of the prior month.)

If you’re under 65 and have a disability, you’ll automatically get Part A and Part B after you get disability benefits from Social Security or certain disability benefits from the RRB for 24 months.

If you have ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also called Lou Gehrig’s disease), you’ll get Part A and Part B automatically the month your Social Security disability benefits begin.

If you’re automatically enrolled, you’ll get your red, white, and blue Medicare card in the mail 3 months before your 65th birthday or 25th month of disability benefits. If you do nothing, you’ll keep Part B and will have to pay Part B premiums through your Social Security benefits. You can choose not to keep Part B, but if you decide you want Part B later, you may have to wait to enroll and pay a penalty for as long as you have Part B.

Some must sign up for Part A and/or Part B

If you’re close to 65, but not getting Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) benefits, you’ll need to sign up for Medicare. Contact Social Security 3 months before you turn 65. You can also apply for Part A and Part B at www.ssa.gov/benefits/medicare. If you worked for a railroad, contact the RRB.

In most cases, if you don’t sign up for Part B when you’re first eligible, you may have a delay in getting Medicare coverage in the future (in some cases over a year), and you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty for as long as you have Part B.

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