Chapter 5

Qualifying for Medicare

In This Chapter

arrow Understanding the conditions for Medicare eligibility at 65

arrow Becoming eligible for Medicare under age 65 through disability

arrow Examining options for health care when you don’t yet qualify for Medicare

Qualifying for Medicare and being eligible for Medicare essentially mean the same thing: You’ve passed a legal hurdle that allows you to receive Medicare benefits. Don’t worry; you don’t have to take a test to qualify for Medicare. You don’t have to go before a judge or take part in some formal ceremony. But you do have to meet certain conditions required by law.

Very broadly, you must meet one of two conditions:

  • You’ve reached your 65th birthday (or will reach it very soon) or are older than 65.
  • You’re under 65 but have a disability that is officially recognized and meets the requirements for Medicare coverage.

Within these two categories are several other conditions that may or may not affect you, depending on your specific circumstances. I explain them all in detail in this chapter. I also explain your options for health care if you don’t immediately qualify for Medicare at 65, are a few years short of 65, or are stuck in that two-year ...

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