Who is eligible for Medicare?

Most people know that in the U.S., all Americans (i.e., citizens or permanent residents) are eligible for Medicare once they turn 65.  However, the benefits are not the same for all individuals.  For instance, the following groups can receive Part A Medicare coverage without paying a premium:

  • Individuals who already get retirement benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board.
  • Individuals who are eligible to get Social Security or Railroad benefits but haven’t yet filed for them.
  • Individuals who either themselves or their spouse has Medicare-covered government employment.

Some individuals qualify for both Medicare (for the elderly) and Medicaid (for the poor).  These dual-eligible beneficiaries receive reduced cost sharing burdens as well.

There are two groups of Americans who can qualify for Medicare before they reach age 65.  These include:

  • Individuals who have received Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board disability benefits for 24 months.
  • Most individuals with End-Stage Renal Disease.


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