Medicare Eligibility

To be eligible for Medicare, you must be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident and be 65 or older or have a disability.

65 and older

American seniors become eligible for Medicare benefits at age 65. If you are turning 65, your Initial Enrollment Period begins three months before the month of your 65th birthday and ends three months after. Your coverage will start on the first day of your birthday month if you sign up in the first three months, or the first of the previous month if your birthday is on the first day of the month.

Medicare and Disability

Social Security is a critical source of financial support for people with disabilities. People receiving disability benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board can begin receiving Medicare benefits once they have received disability benefits (Social Security Disability Insurance, SSDI) for at least 24 months. Social Security automatically enrolls them in Medicare after this amount of time has passed, giving them access to benefits in the 25th month of receiving disability benefits. They will receive their red, white, and blue Medicare card in the mail.

People with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) will begin receiving Medicare benefits in the first month of receiving disability benefits.

People with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD, kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant) have the choice to enroll in Medicare and are not automatically enrolled, unlike other people with chronic conditions. Enrolling in both Part A and Part B is particularly beneficial for this condition because of Part B’s coverage for outpatient medical treatments. Once someone with ESRD enrolls in Medicare, their coverage will begin during the fourth month of their regular course of dialysis treatment. Individuals who receive training from a Medicare-certified facility and who are approved by their doctor can perform at-home dialysis treatments and will begin receiving Medicare coverage during their first month of treatment. If the individual enrolled after they became eligible for benefits (meaning after the fourth month or first month of at-home dialysis), people with ESRD have retroactive benefits by up to 12 months, beginning not earlier than the time they became eligible.

Purchasing Medicare Benefits

People who are 65 or older and are United States citizens or have been permanent legal residents of the United States for at least five years can purchase Medicare benefits. You can purchase Part A by itself or both Part A and Part B.

Premiums for Part A begin at $471 in 2021 monthly for those who have worked fewer than 30 calendar quarters while paying taxes to Social Security. People who worked or whose spouses worked between 30 and 39 calendar quarters while paying taxes to Social Security pay $259 per month in 2021 for Part A.

Part B has a standard premium of $148.50 in 2021. If your income in 2021 was more than $88,000 as an individual or married person filing separately or more than $176,000 as a married couple, you will be charged an Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA). This charge increases monthly premiums for Part B by $59 or more depending on how much higher your income was when you filed your taxes.

For all of your questions regarding Medicare, please do not hesitate to contact your Vinton, Virginia Medicare experts at: