When To Enroll In Medicare?
In the United States, the answer to that question depends on your age and whether you have employer-sponsored health insurance.
Medicare is a health insurance program for people who are age 65 or older, have received Social Security payments for at least 10 years, and have paid Medicare taxes while working.
Medicare Part A is a hospital insurance program. Medicare Part B is a health insurance program that helps pay for doctor's visits, lab tests, and other medical services. You do not have to enroll in Part B unless you want to.
Part B is optional for people who have employer-sponsored health insurance, the Veterans Health Administration, or the U.S. Department of Defense. Part C is a Medicare Advantage Plan.
If you have Part A and Part B, or are eligible for Part A but decide not to enroll, you must pay a monthly premium for Part B.
Uninsured people may enroll in Medicare through a special enrollment period. You can apply for Medicare during your seven-month initial enrollment period.
If you are 65 or older but not yet eligible for Medicare, you are eligible for the First Low-Income Part C Plan (LEP). LEP is a three-year program that provides limited benefits. The cost of the program is a reduced monthly premium. After three years, you can enroll in a standard Part C plan.
If you are a veteran and have been determined to be eligible for health care through the Veterans Health Administration or the U.S. Department of Defense, the law requires you to enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B.
According to the Social Security Administration, the eligibility requirements for Medicare Part B are the following:
You are eligible if you meet any of the following criteria:
You are a citizen or national of the United States or an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States.
You have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence for not less than five years.
You are a foreign-based employee of the U.S. Government, a U.S. citizen residing overseas, or a spouse or child of a person described above.
You are a dependent of a person described above.
You are a mandatory special immigrant.
You are a Cuban-Haitian entrant (with certain conditions).
You are an Amerasian immigrant (with certain conditions).
You are an immigrant from the former Soviet Union who has applied for relief from extraordinary and exceptional hardship.
You are an immigrant from Vietnam, Laos, or Cambodia and you are the child of an individual who was qualified for special immigrant status due to his or her residence in Vietnam, Laos, or Cambodia; or you were born in Vietnam, Laos, or Cambodia and your adoptive parents were qualified for special immigrant status at the time of your adoption.
You are an immigrant born in Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, or the former Soviet Union and who has already applied for citizenship.
You are a U.S. National (with certain conditions).
You are a U.S. citizen who was born abroad to a U.S. citizen parent.
You are an orphan who is being adopted by a U.S. citizen and will reside permanently in the United States.
You are an employee of the United States Government abroad.
You are a nonimmigrant alien who is a resident in the United States.
You are a nonimmigrant alien who is coming to the United States to work as a broadcaster.
You are a nonimmigrant alien who is a resident in the United States and who was employed abroad by the U.S. Government.
You are a nonimmigrant alien who is a resident in the United States and who is the spouse or child of a qualified alien.
You are an "alien member of the uniformed services" or the spouse or dependent of an alien member of the uniformed services.
You are a nonimmigrant alien who is a resident in the United States and who was a victim of a severe form of trafficking in persons.
You are a nonimmigrant alien admitted to the United States as a "refugee" (with certain conditions).
There are other special situations which may affect your eligibility.
Medicaid is a health insurance program for people with low incomes. People who meet certain eligibility requirements can get free or low-cost medical care.
Medicaid is available to people who are:
Age 65 or older.
Have a dependent child.
An adult without children who has been determined to have a disability.
Eligibility for Medicaid is also based on income and assets. In the case of Medicare, income, assets, and resources are counted as your own. In the case of Medicaid, they are counted as community resources.
Some states will allow a spouse to transfer resources to an eligible spouse.
You may be eligible for Medicaid if all of your income is from Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or Railroad Retirement.
However, if you have income from sources other than Social Security, you may still be eligible to receive Medicaid.
Your state Medicaid agency will determine your eligibility for Medicaid and the Medicaid program you qualify for.
You may also be eligible for Medicaid if:
Your income is above the threshold for Medicaid.
You aren't eligible for Medicaid, but you are eligible for Medicare.
You are under age 65 and pregnant.
You are over age 65 and have a disability.
Your income is low enough so that you are eligible for Medicaid.
You are a noncitizen.
You have a low income and resources, but you aren't eligible for Medicaid.
Generally, eligibility for Medicare is based on factors such as age, work and income.
This section discusses how your age will determine how and when you are eligible