Medical care is one of our highest expenses in the United States. Fortunately, our government set up a federal health insurance program to help pay for costs. Medicare is available to most Americans who meet the requirements to enroll.
Those under 65 can apply for Medicare if they have a qualifying disability. Find out if you can sign up for an affordable insurance plan and learn more about using benefits to cover medical services.
In 1966, the Social Security Administration created Medicare to provide health insurance to seniors 65 years of age or older. Additionally, the program is available to younger individuals with certain medical needs, including disabilities or End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).
If you have a qualifying disability, you automatically get Medicare Parts A and B after you have received Social Security or Railroad disability benefits for 24 months. You do not need to sign up if you meet this requirement. You will receive your Medicare card three months before your 25th disability month.
You do not need to meet income requirements to enroll, but your income can affect how much you pay for monthly premiums. You also do not have to pass a health screening. Unlike some other types of insurance, Medicare cannot turn you away based on your medical history. You can decide whether to get Medicare Parts C and/or D.
The program is broken into four portions, with each offering different covered services:
- Part A – Inpatient care
- Part B – Outpatient services
- Part C – Inpatient and outpatient care as well as prescription drugs
- Part D – Prescription drugs
Applicants can only apply for Medicare Parts C and D during certain times. This includes your Initial Enrollment Period (a few months before and after your 65th birthday) and the open enrollment period, which happens toward the end of every year.
If you qualify for coverage, you can sign up for one or multiple parts. The costs for enrollment depends on the plan you select, where you live and your income. Continue to the next slide to learn more about your coverage options and costs.