Getting Medicare Before You’re 65
Most people qualify for Medicare when they turn age 65. However, it is also possible to get Medicare before you are 65 under certain circumstances, such as if you have a disability, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), or end-stage renal disease.
If you are younger than 65 and have a disability, you’ll be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B after you get Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits for 24 months.
You can also sign up for a Medicare Advantage Plan or a Medicare prescription drug plan.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
If you are younger than 65 and have Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also called Lou Gehrig's disease, you’ll automatically get Medicare Part A and Part B in the first month you get disability benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board.
End-Stage Renal Disease
If you are younger than age 65 and have end-stage renal disease (that is, permanent kidney failure that requires a regular course of dialysis or a kidney transplant to maintain life), you are eligible for Medicare if:
- you have worked the required amount of time under Social Security, the Railroad Retirement Board, or as a government employee
- you are already receiving (or are eligible to receive) Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits; or
- you are the spouse or a dependent child of someone who has worked the required amount of time under Social Security, the Railroad Retirement Board, or as a government employee, or you are already receiving (or are eligible to receive) Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits.
Additional Information For Those With End-Stage Renal Disease
To get the full benefits available under Medicare to cover certain dialysis and kidney transplant services, you’ll need both Medicare Part A and Part B. (If you have end-stage renal disease, you usually can’t joint a Medicare Advantage Plan, subject to some exceptions).
Your Medicare coverage will generally end:
- 12 months after the month dialysis treatments stop, or
- 36 months after the month of a kidney transplant.
If your condition deteriorates and you require dialysis or a transplant before one of the above periods end, your Medicare benefits may be reinstated.
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