What is Medicare?
Medicare is a nationwide health insurance program run by the federal government. You can qualify for Medicare if you are age 65 or older and/or if you have certain disabilities or End-Stage Renal Disease (ERSD).
Medicare has four parts:
- Medical Insurance
- Doctors' visits and other services outside of a hospital
- Home health care
- Durable medical equipment, like a wheelchair
- Limited prescription drugs
- Medicare Advantage Plans
- Hospital and medical care (Part A & B)
- Prescription drugs (usually)
- Other benefits and services at an extra cost (usually)
- Prescription Drug Coverage
- Prescription drugs not covered under Part B
Who is Eligible?
- People 65 and older
- People with permanent disabilities who receive Social Security Disability Insurance (after a two-year waiting period)
- People with End-Stage Renal Disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) (no waiting period)
**Note:** Most people don't pay a premium for Part A: Hospital Insurance because they or a spouse already paid for it through their payroll taxes while working.
If you have low income, you may qualify for:
Additional insurance to pay medical costs
Learn more about Medicaid
Medicare Savings Program (MSP)
Help to pay Medicare premiums and/or cost sharing like copays and deductibles (If you are disabled and working, you may qualify for a special MSP)
Learn more about MSP
Help to pay prescription drug costs
Learn more about extra help
For more information and to apply:
How to Apply
- You will automatically get Medicare if you get Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board Benefits and you (a) turn 65 or (b) you've received disability benefits for 24 months.
- If you are not automatically enrolled, you will need to sign up. You may be charged a late fee if you don't sign up for Medicare Part B: Medical Insurance when you are eligible.
Call 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227) and say "Agent" to ask questions or apply. (TTY: 877-486-2048)
Visit the Social Security enrollment page to apply online