As you may already know, turning 65 is one of the qualifications for receiving Medicare. Many people will qualify for Medicare this way; however, there are ways to qualify for Medicare without being 65 years old which I’ll discuss later. This isn’t just another birthday as you’ll soon discover. Several months before your 65th birthday you will start to be inundated by mail soliciting you to sign up for Medicare insurance. Expect to find seminar requests, direct mail wanting you to fill out applications, and mail asking you to fill out a card and send it in along with many other solicitations. The main piece of mail you’ll want to look out for is your actual Medicare card from Social Security. It will be in a larger envelope instead of your typical letter size envelope.
Much has been said recently about whether or not Medicare will even be there for you when you need it. It’s no secret that Medicare is running out of money at an alarming rate. One of the many suggestions to alleviate this problem is to raise the age at which you would qualify for Medicare. As of now, 65 is the magic number to qualify for Medicare.
As I mentioned earlier, it is possible to qualify for Medicare without having to be 65 years old. One way of doing this is through being disabled. While you do have to go through the process of qualifying for disability benefits, typically you will received Medicare automatically after being on disability for 24 months.
ESRD or End Stage Renal Disease also qualifies you for Medicare. You will need to be receiving dialysis on a regular basis, or have had a kidney transplant in order to qualify. You also will need to apply for Medicare since you won’t be automatically enrolled. Your coverage begins under these circumstances:
- The 3rd month after the month in which a regular course of dialysis begins; or
- The first month a regular course of dialysis begins if the individual engages in self-dialysis training; or
- The month of kidney transplant; or
- Two months prior to the month of transplant if the individual was hospitalized during those months in preparation for the transplant.
When you qualify, you typically are qualifying for Medicare Part A at no cost, and the ability to enroll into Medicare Part B for a monthly premium. In most cases, you will automatically be enrolled into both Part A and Part B. It is up to you to decline Part B if you don’t want to pay the monthly premium. Personally, I would discourage you from declining Part B unless you have some special circumstance that makes sense for you to decline it. An example would be if you are still working and have coverage under an employer group plan.