It’s important to know when you’re eligible for Medicare and what to do if you are. Learn more about Medicare eligibility, what to do if you want to work past age 65 and how to enroll in Medicare Part A and/or Part B.
Who is eligible for Medicare?
U.S. citizens and legal residents
Note: Legal residents must have lived in the U.S. for at least 5 years in a row before applying for Medicare.
Plus, one of the following:
- Age 65 or older
- Younger than 65 with a qualifying disability
- Any age with a diagnosis of End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, also called Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
What if I continue to work past age 65?
You have Medicare decisions to make when you turn 65 even if you have coverage through an employer—yours or your spouse’s (if they’re still working). Your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) happens when you’re turning 65 whether you’re still going to work or not. So be sure you know your IEP dates.
Learn how Medicare may work with your employer coverage.
Some employers require you to get Original Medicare (Parts A and B) benefits at age 65. Many people with employer coverage enroll in just Part A during their IEP. Part A is premium free for most people, and may provide hospital coverage in addition to your employer plan. Your employer’s benefits administrator should be able to help you learn more about your choices.
What do I need to do once I’m eligible for Medicare?
Most people are automatically enrolled in Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) once they are eligible. But not everyone is.
You’ll be automatically enrolled in Original Medicare if:
- You have Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits when you turn 65, or
- You are eligible for Medicare because of a disability or medical condition.
You must enroll in Original Medicare yourself if:
- You are not receiving Social Security benefits when you become eligible for Medicare. You can enroll by visiting the SSA.gov/Medicare website, or by calling or stopping into your local Social Security office.
- Note: If you want coverage besides Original Medicare—like a Medicare Advantage (Part C), Prescription Drug (Part D) or Medicare Supplement insurance plan—that’s up to you, as well.
Learn more about Medicare eligibility
What are my coverage choices once I’m eligible for Medicare?
Once you're enrolled in Medicare Parts A and/or Part B, you can start to receive coverage from the federal government and you can choose to receive additional coverage from private insurance companies like UnitedHealthcare. Take a look at the "Coverage Choices" page to learn more.