Medicare Under 65
Medicare benefits can help you afford health care services once you become eligible. Typically, you must be at least age 65 to qualify for Medicare, but there are some instances where Medicare benefits are available to people below age 65. If you are under age 65, here is how you may qualify for Medicare.
Medicare Disability Eligibility
If you are under age 65, you cannot become eligible for Medicare without first being diagnosed with a disability or qualifying chronic condition. If you have been diagnosed with a disability, after receiving Social Security Disability Insurance benefits for 24 months you will be automatically enrolled into Medicare. This two-year waiting period starts immediately after you collect your first Social Security Disability Insurance payment. As soon as you reach your 25th month of benefits, you will automatically be enrolled into Medicare benefits.
Qualifying Chronic Conditions
Some chronic illnesses are exempt from the two-year waiting period required for applicants who seek Medicare benefits due to a disability. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is one such disease, and the other is End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). Both of these conditions have specific eligibility rules; they are:
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis – Applicants must be diagnosed with ALS and apply for Social Security Disability Insurance. After your first month of benefits payments have been dispersed, your Medicare enrollment should begin automatically. This means you do not need to abide by the 24 month rule.
- End-Stage Renal Disease – If you are under age 65 and are diagnosed with ESRD, when your Medicare benefits will begin may vary based on a number of factors. Some variables include the time at which you apply for Medicare and whether you are waiting for a kidney transplant. Once you are deemed eligible for Medicare due to your ESRD diagnosis, you will have access to any Medicare benefits you choose.