For most people, the minimum age to enroll in Medicare is 65 years old. However, there are some circumstances where you will be able to meet the eligibility requirements for Medicare health insurance even if you do not meet the age minimum of 65 years old. If certain qualifying conditions are met, you may apply for the Medicare program regardless of your current age.
Here are some conditions that will qualify you to receive Medicare health insurance coverage, regardless of your age:
· Living with a disability – After you receive 24 months of disability benefits paid out from the Railroad Retirement Board or the Social Security Administration, you will automatically receive Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B. Typically, you will receive your Medicare healthcare card three months prior to your 25th month of disability payment.
· Lou Gehrig’s Disease or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) – If you are living with Lou Gehrig’s Disease, also known as ALS, you will be enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part P once your disability benefits begin. Typically, your Medicare healthcare card will arrive the same month you sign up for your disability benefits.
· End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) – In order to qualify for Medicare if you are living with End-Stage Renal Disease, you must have worked a minimum of 10 years or have received 40 credits. If you are living with ESRD, you will need to apply for Medicare coverage because you will not be automatically enrolled. To enroll, you will need to contact the Social Security Administration and inform them about your qualifying condition.
Applicants who do not meet the disability or one of the other qualifying conditions will not be eligible until they meet the age requirement for Medicare. If you are interested in receiving Medicare benefits, you should apply for the program as soon as you are qualified.
For most applicants, there is a seven-month enrollment period from when they qualify to sign up for a Medicare health plan. The Medicare enrollment period begins three months prior to your 65th birthday on the first of that month. For instance, if you were born on March 23rd, your enrollment period would begin February 1st.
If you were born on the first of the month, Medicare will take special consideration and count your enrollment as the month prior to your birthday. Delays in applying can result in your coverage period being postponed. In some cases, there may be late fees if you apply past the designated enrollment period.