Generally, Medicare is available for people aged 65 or older, those with disabilities, and people with end-stage renal disease.
Persons typically qualify for premium-free Part A Medicare, earning 40 “credits” by paying Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes while working (equal to around ten years of work). But eligibility for premium-free Part A Medicare isn’t solely determined by your previous employment.
Although a widely-known factor, holding employment isn’t essential. It is also possible to qualify for Medicare through your spouse or if you have specific disabilities that inhibit your ability to maintain employment.
You can get Medicare if you have never worked, and these are some of the scenarios in which it is possible:
If you are over 65 years old and your spouse (must be at least 62) qualifies for Medicare Part A premiums, you can apply so long as you have been married for at least a year before your application.
For those divorced, you are eligible if you were married for at least ten years and are currently single. And if your spouse has passed away, you must have been married for at least nine months before the death, and you must be single.
Even if you have not worked, certain disabilities can qualify you to receive Medicare before 65. For example, it is possible to be eligible for free Medicare Part A if you have permanent kidney failure, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or disability, as determined by the Social Security disability program.
Monthly Medicare Part A plan
Suppose you fail to qualify for Medicare based on your employment history, the credits of your spouse, or disability eligibility. You can still receive coverage by paying a monthly premium for your Medicare Part A once you are 65 or older.
Your premium price depends on your work history; those with under 30 credits will pay more than those who have amassed between 30 and 40. And then there is, of course, the option to continue work after you reach the age of 65 and until you have earned the necessary 40 credits to receive premium-free Part A Medicare.
If you pay for your Medicare Part A premium, you must also enroll in Part B, but you will not have to pay a higher premium than others.
If desired, it is possible to enroll in Part B and not pay for Part A if your work history did not make you eligible for the free benefits. But to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you have to be enrolled in both parts A and B.
Get the Best Coverage for Your Needs
If you are unsure if you are eligible for Medicare Part A, speak to one of our licensed insurance agents. The agent can talk through your requirements to find the best coverage plan for you, even if you’ve never worked before.