The Pieces of the Medicare Puzzle
By Rick Law, Estate Planning and Asset Protection attorney at the Estate Planning Center of Law Elder Law, just outside Chicago in Aurora, IL There are four parts of Medicare coverage: hospital insurance, medical insurance, Medicare advantage plans, and Medicare prescription drug plans, all with their own eligibility requirements. Hospital Insurance (Part A) – According to the Social Security Administration, most people age 65 or older who are citizens or permanent residents of the United States are eligible for free Medicare hospital insurance (Part A). You are eligible at age 65 if:
- You receive or are eligible to receive Social Security benefits; or
- You receive or are eligible to receive railroad retirement benefits; or
- Your have a spouse who is eligible; or
- You or your spouse (living or deceased, including divorced spouses) worked long enough in a government job where Medicare taxes were paid; or
- You are the dependent parent of a fully insured deceased child.
- You have been entitled to Social Security disability benefits for 24 months; or
- You receive a disability pension from the railroad retirement board and meet certain conditions; or
- [You] receive Social Security disability benefits because [you] have Lou Gehrig’s disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis); or
- You worked long enough in a government job where Medicare taxes were paid and you meet the requirements of the Social Security disability program; or
- You are the child or widow(er) age 50 or older, including a divorced widow(er), of someone who has worked long enough in a government job where Medicare taxes were paid and meet the requirements of the Social Security disability program; or
- You have permanent kidney failure and receive maintenance dialysis or a kidney transplant and:
- You are eligible for or receive monthly benefits under Social Security or the railroad retirement system; or
- You have worked long enough in a Medicare-covered government job; or
- You are the child or spouse (including a divorced spouse) of a worker (living or deceased) who has worked long enough under Social Security or in a Medicare-covered government job.