Can I Get Medicare at 62?
- Some people are eligible for Medicare at age 62 or generally before they turn 65, depending on their disability status or if they have a qualifying health condition. Learn more about what you should do if you’re considering Medicare at age 62.
Most people become eligible for Medicare when they turn 65 years. But since early retirees can begin collecting Social Security retirement benefits at age 62, can you begin receiving Medicare at age 62 as well?
If you have a qualifying disability, then yes you may be eligible for Medicare at 62 (or at any age before 65, for that matter). Otherwise, you must still wait until age 65 to enroll in Medicare.
Who Qualifies for Medicare Before 65?
You may be able to enroll in Medicare before turning 65 if you meet one of the following requirements:
- You have collected disability benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board for at least 24 months.
- You have ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). The 24-month waiting period is waived in this case.
- You have ESRD (End-Stage Renal Disease). If you have ESRD or kidney failure, your Medicare eligibility date will depend on a variety of factors.
If you don’t qualify for Medicare due to one of the circumstances listed above, you will not be eligible for Medicare until you turn 65. You’ll have to turn to other options for health insurance coverage until then, such as plans from the individual marketplace, Medicaid or any federal or military benefits for which you may be eligible.
To enroll in Medicare before the age of 65 because of a qualifying disability, visit your local Social Security office or contact the Social Security Administration at 1-800-325-0778.
I Pay for Medicare Part A. What Happens When My Wife Turns 62?
Let’s consider a situation in which one person is over age 65, is enrolled in Medicare and is married to a younger person who does not yet qualify for Medicare.
- The 66-year-old husband has not met the work requirements needed to qualify for premium-free Medicare Part A, so he must pay monthly premiums for his Part A hospital insurance coverage. (If a person worked and paid Medicare taxes for 40 quarters – 10 years – they qualify for premium-free Part A. If they don’t meet that work requirement, they are allowed to enroll in Part A but they will have to buy it by paying a monthly premium.)
- His younger wife has satisfied the work requirements necessary to receive premium-free Part A.
- Once his wife reaches age 62, he can qualify for premium-free Medicare Part A based on his spouse’s work history.
In this scenario, the 62-year-old wife must still wait until she qualifies for Medicare herself (either by aging in or through a qualified disability or condition) before she can enroll in Medicare.
When Can I Enroll in Medicare?
If you begin receiving retirement benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board at least four months before you turn 65, you’ll most likely be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B.
If you don’t receive retirement benefits at least 4 months before your 65th birthday, you can manually enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B (Part B is optional) during your Initial Enrollment Period.
- Your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) begins three months before the month that you turn 65 years old. This enrollment period includes the month of your birthday and continues for three more months for a total of seven months.
- During this time, you may sign up for Medicare Part A and Part B. You may also enroll in a private Medicare plan during your IEP, such as a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D.
The best time to apply for a Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) plan (if you want one) is during your 6-month Medigap Enrollment Period that begins the month you are both 65 years old and enrolled in Part B.
For questions about your Medicare eligibility, contact Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). You can also use the online Medicare Eligibility & Premium Calculator.