Medicare is a federal health insurance program that provides health coverage for millions of retired or disabled Americans. While the government has tried to make it easy to sign up for, there are some obstacles that you should be aware of.
Who is eligible for Medicare?
Medicare coverage starts for people at age 65 as long as they are a U.S. citizen or legal resident or resided in the U.S. for a minimum of 5 years. Beyond these basics you have to qualify for at least one of the following two conditions before you are eligible to receive benefits.
- You or your spouse must have worked long enough to be eligible for Social Security or Railroad Retirement Benefits (RRB), which equates to 40 credits or 10 years of work.
- You or your spouse is a government employee or retiree who has not paid into Social Security, but did pay Medicare payroll taxes while working.
There are also a few conditions that could qualify you for Medicare before the age of 65 such as:
- You are permanently disabled and have received disability benefits for at least two years.
- You have End Stage Renal Disease that requires dialysis, or have had a kidney transplant.
- You have ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
If you meet any of these criteria and would like to look further into whether you qualify for Medicare, you can confirm your eligibility here.
Will I be automatically enrolled in Medicare?
If you are a U.S citizen or legal resident, have resided in the U.S. for a minimum of 5 years, have worked for at least 10 years in medicare-covered employment, and have had social security deductions taken from your payroll, then it is likely that you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare. If you are automatically enrolled, you should receive your Medicare card in the mail just prior to becoming eligible. You may have to apply for Medicare if:
- You have not applied for Social Security or Railroad Retirement Benefits, or
- You were employed by the government, or
- You have kidney disease.
If you are nearing or already 65 and would like more information on Medicare Plans in Washington State, please visit our Overview of Medicare, as well as our guide for those who are New to Medicare. For assistance in choosing a Medicare plan, contact us to get in touch with a licensed insurance agent today!