Medicare eligibility begins for most people at age 65. However, younger individuals who have been entitled to Social Security disability for at least 24 months also qualify.
Many people confuse the age-in dates for Social Security with their dates for Medicare. A person can apply for full retirement income benefits at age 66. However, this does not affect the age at which they qualify for Medicare. Everyone who has worked at least 40 quarters (10 years) in the United States during their lifetime can qualify for Medicare at age 65.
Eligibility for Medicare Part A
You are eligible for Medicare Part A, free of charge, if you or your spouse has legally worked for at least 10 years in the United States. During those years, you paid taxes which pre-pay for your Part A hospital benefits. This is why most American usually pay no Part A premiums when they become eligible for Medicare. Part A covers mainly hospital-related care.
For people who have not worked the required 10 years, Part A may be available for you to purchase, and you should contact Social Security to determine what amount you would need to pay. If you must purchase Part A, the coverage can cost well over $400/monthly, but in some cases there are partial premiums for people who have worked over 30 but less then 40 quarters.
Eligibility for Medicare Part B
You are eligible for Medicare Part B at age 65 as well. However, you must pay a monthly premium for Part B, which provides for your outpatient coverage and benefits such as doctor visits, labwork, surgery fees, and more.
In 2014, the base rate for Part B is $104.90/month, but for certain individuals with higher incomes, Social Security will charge you a premium adjustment based on your adjusted gross income from recent tax returns. Some people who have health insurance through an employer will delay their enrollment into Part B in favor of their group health insurance, which already provides them outpatient medical care benefits. As long as you have creditable health insurance coverage such as employer-provided health insurance benefits, you can delay your enrollment into Part B without worrying about late enrollment penalties.
If you decide to wait to enroll in Part B, make sure that you consult with someone at Social Security or with an insurance agent who works with senior products who can make you aware of the enrollment windows, call special election periods, during which you must apply in order not to be assessed a late enrollment fee for your outpatient benefits.
Find out if you are eligible for Medicare
Determining your Medicare eligibility is sometimes tricky, and we get many questions about how to qualify, when to enroll in Medicare, and how to set up Medicare supplement insurance coverage once Part A and Part B are in place. Though the process may seem overhelming to you, our experts deal with these processes each and every day, and we can guide you easily through the process.
You are not alone – let a Boomer Benefits licensed agent assist you in making this entire process easier. Get help with Medicare supplement insurance today by completing our online request for assistance.