Who is eligible for Medicare?
Generally, you are eligible for Medicare if you or your spouse worked for at least 10 years in Medicare-covered employment and you are 65 years old and a citizen or permanent resident of the United States. You might also qualify for coverage if you are a younger person with a disability or with End-Stage Renal disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or transplant).
Here are some simple guidelines.
You can get Part A at age 65 without having to pay premiums if:
- You are already receiving retirement benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board.
- You are eligible to receive Social Security or Railroad benefits, but have not yet filed for them.
- You or your spouse had Medicare-covered government employment.
If you are under 65, you can get Part A without having to pay premiums if:
- You have received Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board disability benefit for 24 months.
- You are a kidney dialysis or kidney transplant patient.
While you do not have to pay a premium for Part A if you meet one of those conditions, you must pay for Part B if you want it. In 2012 the monthly premium for Part B is $99.90 for all beneficiaries with incomes under $85,000 (single) and $170,000 (married). It is deducted from your Social Security, Railroad Retirement, or Civil Service Retirement check.
If you do not get any of the above payments, Medicare sends you a bill for your Part B premium every 3 months. If you have questions about your eligibility for Medicare Part A or Part B, or if you want to apply for Medicare, call the Social Security Administration. The toll-free telephone number is: 1-800-772-1213. The TTY-TDD number for the hearing and speech impaired is 1-800-325-0778. You can also get information about buying Part A as well as part B if you do not qualify for premium-free part A.