In order to be eligible for Medicare you must be a U.S. citizen or legal resident residing for at least 5 years. If you meet resident or citizen requirements and you or your spouse have paid social security taxes for at least 10 years, then you will be automatically enrolled in Part A at age 65. You will also become eligible for Part B.
How Else May I Qualify?
Some people under age 65 may qualify for Medicare if they have certain disabilities or life-threatening chronic conditions. If you are under age 65, you may qualify for Medicare if you have
- ALS (also known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”)
- End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD)
- Received Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) for 24 months
When Can I Enroll in Medicare?
When you are initially eligible for Medicare you will have a 7-month period to enroll in Part A and/or Part B. This 7-month period will begin 3 months before the month of your 65th birthday, it will include your birthday month and it will last for 3 months after your birthday month.
Annual Enrollment Period
October 15th – December 7th Every year your Medicare health plan may change. If you would like to review your plan options for the upcoming year and possibly make any changes or enroll in a different plan, then you may do this during the Annual Enrollment Period. Every person who is eligible for Medicare is entitled to make changes to their plan coverage during this time of year. The changes to your plan will be effective on January 1st.
Open Enrollment Period (Only for people who are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan)
January 1st – March 31st If you are not happy with your current Medicare Advantage plan then you may make one plan change which will become effective the following month.
- Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another
Special Enrollment Period
Outside of the enrollment periods discussed above, there are certain special enrollment periods in which you may qualify for coverage due to certain life events. These life events may include losing your current health coverage, moving, diagnosis of a specific chronic illness, qualification for or loss of qualification for your state’s financial assistance programs or Medicaid.