Generally, Medicare is available for people aged 65 or older, those with disabilities and people with end-stage renal disease.
Persons typically qualify for premium-free Part A Medicare having earned 40 “credits” by paying Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes while working (equal to around 10 years of work). But eligibility for premium-free Part A Medicare isn’t solely determined by your previous employment.
Although a widely-known factor, holding employment isn’t completely necessary. It is also possible to qualify for Medicare through your spouse or if you have specific disabilities that inhibit your ability to hold employment.
You can get Medicare if you have never worked and these are some of the scenarios in which it is possible:
If you are over 65 years old and your spouse (must be at least 62) qualifies for Medicare Part A premiums, you can apply so long as you have been married for at least a year before your application.
For those divorced, you are eligible if you were married for at least ten years and currently single. And if your spouse has passed away, you must have been married for at least nine months before the death and you must be single.
Even if you have not worked, certain disabilities can qualify you to receive Medicare before the age of 65. It is possible to qualify for free Medicare Part A if you have permanent kidney failure, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or disability, as determined by the Social Security disability program.
If you fail to qualify for Medicare based on your employment history, the credits of your spouse or disability eligibility. You can still receive coverage by paying a monthly premium for your Medicare Part A once you are age 65 or older.
The price of your premium depends on your work history; those with under 30 credits will pay more than those who have amassed between 30 and 40. And then there is, of course, the option to continue work after you reach the age of 65 and until you have earned the necessary 40 credits to receive premium-free Part A Medicare.
If you pay for your Medicare Part A premium, you must also enroll in Part B but you will not have to pay a higher premium than others.
If desired, it is possible to only enroll in Part B and not pay for Part A if your work history did not make you eligible for the free benefits. But to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you have to be enrolled in both parts A and B.
If you are unsure if you are eligible for Medicare Part A, speak to one of our licensed insurance agent on 1-844-374-1950. The agent can talk through your requirements to find the best coverage plan for you, even if you’ve never worked before.