Medicare eligibility begins at age 65 for most people, but there are a number of factors that may affect your eligibility. Read on to understand who is eligible for Medicare and to see if any of these circumstances apply to you.
- I'm getting started with Medicare
It’s important to get Medicare when you’re first eligible to get the lowest premium amount. You can only enroll in Medicare at certain times, and the cost goes up the longer you wait. If you already get benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB), you’ll get Medicare automatically when you’re first eligible. If you’re over 65 (or turning 65 within the next 3 months) and not already getting benefits from Social Security (or RRB), you need to sign up to get Medicare. Use these steps to make informed decisions about getting started with Medicare.
- I need or get Extra Help/Medicaid
If you have limited income and resources, you may be eligible to get help from your state paying your Medicare premiums. In some cases, Medicare Savings Programs may also pay Hospital (Part A) and/or Medical (Part B) deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments. You may also qualify for Extra Help to pay for your Medicare drug coverage. Find out if you qualify for programs to help with your Medicare costs.
- I have employer coverage
If you have coverage through a current or former employer, you still need to make some important Medicare enrollment decisions. It’s important to understand how your current coverage works with Medicare, when you’re eligible for Medicare, and whether you can delay Medicare Parts A and B without having to pay a penalty later. Read about what to do if you have employer coverage.
- I'm outside the U.S.
Learn about Medicare eligibility if you live outside the U.S. Medicare usually doesn’t cover health care outside the U.S., but Medigap policies may cover you when you travel outside the U.S.
- I have a disability
Find out how Medicare eligibility works and when you can enroll if you’re under 65 and have a disability, have ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also called Lou Gehrig's disease), or who have a disability and want to return to work.
- I have End-Stage Renal Disease
Learn how to sign up for Medicare if you have End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). If you're eligible for Medicare because of ESRD, you can enroll in Hospital (Part A) and/or Medical (Part B) by contacting Social Security. Starting January 2021, people with ESRD can choose either Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage Plan when deciding how to get Medicare coverage. Learn more about how Medicare Advantage Plans work, and how to enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan.
- I want to know when I'm eligible for Medicare
If you don’t have a disability or ESRD, use our calculator to get an estimate of when you can enroll in Medicare.