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Medicare Eligibility

Medicare eligibility begins, for most, at age 65. However, individuals who have been receiving Social Security disability benefits for at least 24 months are also eligible.


There are also some other criteria that allows you to be eligible to receive Medicare benefits before age 65.

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Am I eligible for Medicare?

So, you can qualify for Medicare coverage at 65 if you are a US citizen or a permanent resident and you’ve lived here continuously for at least five years.

If you are under 65, you can also qualify if you meet these criteria: 

  • You are permanently disabled and you have been receiving Social Security disability income benefits for 24 months.

  • You have end-stage renal disease.

  • You have Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease).

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Eligibility for Part A

You are eligible for Medicare Part A coverage at no cost at age 65 as long as you, or your spouse, have worked for at least 10 years (40 quarters) in the United States. 

If you haven’t worked for 10 years, you can still purchase Part A coverage. 

As long as you have already enrolled in Social Security, you will be automatically enrolled in Part A. If not, you will have to contact the Social Security office to enroll.

Your Medicare card will arrive around one month before you turn 65.

Eligibility for Part B

The eligibility rules for Medicare Part B are the same as Part A, however, a monthly premium applies.

This monthly premium is typically adjusted each year by the Federal Government. 

Most people pay the standard Part B premium amount. If your modified adjusted gross income as reported on your IRS tax return from 2 years ago is above a certain amount, you’ll pay the standard premium amount and an Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount, also known as IRMAA. IRMAA is an extra charge added to your premium.

Eligibility for Part C

To be eligible for Medicare Part C, you have to first be enrolled in both Part A and Part B.

Eligibility for Part D

To be eligible for Medicare Part D, you have to first be enrolled in either Part A or Part B.

Do I have to Enroll in Medicare?

Lots of people ask us if they have to enroll in Medicare.

You do not, but if you do not have other health insurance coverage, there will be penalties for delaying your Medicare enrollment.


Usually, as long as you worked 10 years in the U.S., Part A is free. Also, if you enroll into Social Security income benefits, you will be automatically enrolled into Medicare Part A once you turn 65.

If you do not enroll in Part B and Part D when you are first eligible and do not have creditable health coverage through another source, you may receive a permanent penalty for delaying your enrollment. 

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