Medicare is commonly thought of as exclusively for people over the age of 65, but actually, there are circumstances under which people under 65 can be eligible for Medicare. In fact, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, “17% of all Medicare beneficiaries are under 65 years old.” If you receive Social Security Disability (SSDI) and are under 65 years old, you may already be, or soon will be eligible for Medicare. In addition, there are special provisions for those who receive SSDI and have either End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclorosis (ALS). Here’s how you can get Medicare if you’re under 65.
How to Get Medicare If You’re Under 65
Social Security Disability
If you receive Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) and are under 65, you are either already eligible for Medicare, or will be eligible soon. The time frame for eligibility is 29 months from the onset of your disability. This is made up of the 5 months you must wait after to onset of the disability to receive your first SSDI check, and is followed by a 24-month waiting period to be eligible for Medicare.
“As an SSDI recipient, your Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) coverage will not incur a premium after the 2 years, but you, like those over 65, will be required to pay a premium for Medicare Part B.” If you wish to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you are able to do so 3 months before and 3 months after your first month of receiving SSDI benefits. Otherwise you will have to wait until the annual enrollment period.
End Stage Renal Disease
If you have been diagnosed with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), you may be eligible for Medicare if you’re under 65. This is dependent on several factors, and for most it will come down to whether you have contributed for the required time to Social Security, “or if you are the spouse or dependent of someone who fulfills one of those requirements.”
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
If you’ve been diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, you will be receive Medicare as soon as you receive your first SSDI benefits. There is no 5 months waiting period to receive SSDI benefits once you apply, and there is no 24 months waiting period after you receive your first SSDI benefits to become eligible for Medicare. If you have ALS, you will be eligible for SSDI and Medicare as soon as you submit your application. You must have paid into Social Security long enough to be eligible for these benefits.
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