Medicare Glossary

Definitions for common Medicare terms

amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or lou gehrig’s disease

DEFINITION: Patients who suffer from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) are eligible for Medicare at any age. The disease attacks a person’s motor nerve cells in the spinal cord.

Patients with ALS become eligible for Medicare as soon as they begin collecting Social Security disability benefits. There’s a five-month waiting period before applicants with ALS can begin receiving Social Security disability payments, and Medicare takes effect at the same time as the disability payments.

This is in contrast to Medicare for other types of disabilities, when there is typically a two-year delay between the start of disability benefits and the start of Medicare eligibility.