Medicare Eligibility: Age and Other Requirements
For many Americans, Medicare eligibility begins the day you turn 65. But Medicare eligibility also extends to some U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are younger than 65.
If you’re younger than 65, you may qualify for Medicare if:
- You’ve received Social Security disability benefits or Railroad Retirement Board benefits for more than 24 months
- You suffer from ALS, otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, and receive benefits through Social Security
- You have End-Stage Renal Disease
Some people will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B, while others will have to sign up for it on their own.
Generally, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B if:
- You have received benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board at least four months before turning 65.
- You have received disability benefits for at least 24 months.
- You have ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). If you have ALS, your Medicare benefits will automatically begin the month your disability benefits begin.
Keep in mind that just because you are not automatically enrolled in Original Medicare, does not mean that you aren’t eligible for Part A and Part B benefits.
Some people that may be eligible for Medicare, but must enroll on their own include:
- People with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). If you qualify for Medicare Part A because you have ESRD, you are also eligible for Medicare Part B.
- People who have not received Social Security or RRB benefits for at least four months before turning 65.
To enroll in Original Medicare, visit your local Social Security Office or contact Social Security at 1-800-772-1213.
Medicare Supplement Insurance
Some Medicare recipients will be eligible for Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap), which helps cover some of the out-of-pocket costs that Original Medicare doesn’t cover.
Typically, you’ll be eligible for Medicare Supplement Insurance when you are both 65 years old and enrolled in Medicare Part B.
Federal law does not require insurers to sell Medicare Supplement Insurance to people under 65, even those who qualify for Medicare benefits due to a disability or medical condition. Instead, your Medigap eligibility will depend on the state you live in.
Currently, the only states that require insurance companies to sell Medigap policies to people under the age of 65 are:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- South Dakota