Medicare Under the Age 65

How can I get Medicare under the age of 65?

Medicare is not only for seniors but also for those with disabilities. If you are younger than 65, you can qualify for Medicare after receiving disability benefits from Social Security for at least 24 months.

Under 65

People under 65 can qualify for Medicare if they meet a few criteria. To aid those with disabilities, the federal government offers Medicare to those who have been receiving Social Security benefits for 24 months and those who have End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease). If you have received Social Security Disability Insurance for 24 months, your Medicare card will be sent to you in the mail. You automatically receive Medicare Part A and Part B at the start of your 25th month of receiving benefits. 


Those with ALS or ESRD do not have to wait this 24 months. Those with ALS can receive Medicare immediately upon receiving Social Security benefits. Those with ESRD can begin receiving Medicare benefits three months after beginning a course of dialysis. With ESRD Medicare, Part A coverage is retroactive for twelve months, beginning no earlier than the first month you become eligible for ESRD Medicare. Children under age 20 with ESRD can qualify for Medicare benefits if they meet two conditions: they need dialysis regularly or require a kidney transplant, AND they have a parent who receives or is qualified to receive Social Security retirement benefits. 

Once over the age of 20, individuals can qualify for Medicare after receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits for at least 24 months. They can receive SSDI without a work history if they developed a disability before age 22, have a parent receiving Social Security retirement benefits, and are unmarried. Children under 19 who do not qualify for Medicare may qualify for your state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program. Those 19 or older should apply for Medicaid. 

Saving Money

To save money on Medicare, apply to the Medicare Savings Programs or Extra Help. The Qualified Disabled and Working Individual (QDWI) program covers individuals with a monthly income less than $4,338 and less than $4,000 in resources, and covers couples with a monthly income less than $5,832 and less than $6,000 in resources. The plan covers the Medicare Part A premiums for disabled individuals younger than age 65 who lost their premium-free Part A because they returned to work.

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