Q: How do I know if I qualify for Medicare?
A: You qualify for premium-free Medicare Part A if you have reached the age of 65, are a U.S. citizen (or legal permanent resident who has been in the US for at least the last five years), and if you or your spouse (deceased or alive) were employed for at least 10 years in a Medicare-covered employment situation.
If you are receiving Social Security (you are eligible at age 62), you will automatically become eligible for Medicare at age 65. Also, if you are receiving or are eligible to receive railroad retirement benefits and are 65, you are eligible for Medicare.
If you or your spouse have not worked for at least 10 years and paid Medicare taxes during that time, you will still be eligible for Medicare if you meet the other eligibility guidelines, but you’ll have to pay a premium for Part A.
If you are under the age of 65, you are eligible for Medicare if you have been receiving Railroad Retirement Board disability benefits or Social Security disability benefits for at least 24 months, although the waiting period is much shorter if you have been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) or have End-Stage Renal Disease.