We all know that Medicare is an insurance policy the government provides older folks, such as myself. However, I’ve also heard you can get Medicare if you’re under 65. Is that correct?
While most Medicare applicants are 65 and older, there are more than 9 million people on Medicare under age 65. Let me explain.
Who is Medicare Intended For?
Medicare was established on July 30, 1965, by President Lyndon Johnson, and—fun fact—the first Medicare recipients were President Harry Truman and his wife, Bess.
Medicare Under Age 65 Due to Disability
Original Medicare is medical insurance for people over the age of 65, and people under 65 with a long-term disability, or those who have certain disabilities like End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. To be eligible for Medicare under age 65, you need to have been on Social Security disability for 24 months. Once you’re eligible, there’s no need to medically “qualify” for Medicare—you get it regardless of your current health. There are no health questions you need to answer to get Medicare. Once you have it, you cannot get kicked off of it for any medical condition or health-related reason. While there are certain limitations to care, and monthly premiums may differ from individual to individual, it does not “run out.”
Today’s Medicare Insurance
Fast forward to today; the Medicare insurance field has become vastly more complex for you, the Medicare consumer. Quite frankly, it’s become vastly more complex for Medicare insurance companies and Medicare insurance agents, too. Decades ago, you only had one choice to make when you turned 65 or became disabled and eligible for Medicare — whether or not to buy a Medicare Supplement Plan. Today, you essentially have three medicare options:
❶ stay on Original Medicare and only buy a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan or,
❷ stay on Original Medicare and buy a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan and a Medicare Supplement Plan or,
❸ buy a Medicare Advantage plan that includes Medicare Part D benefits
Today, any of these options lead you down a dizzying array of rabbit holes with potentially hundreds of additional choices. As a consumer, you now have thousands of combinations and choices on your Medicare menu.
To make more informed choices, make sure to read through my previous blog posts and pick up a copy of my book Prepare for Medicare – The Insider’s Guide to Buying Medicare Insurance. Preparation is the key to being confident!
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Author Bio Matt Feret is the author of the Prepare for Social Security -The Insider’s Guide and the Prepare for Medicare – The Insider’s Guide book series and launched PrepareforSocialSecurity.com to help people get objective answers to questions about Social Security and Medicare. Matt is also the host of The Matt Feret Show. He has held leadership roles at numerous Fortune 500 Medicare health insurers in sales, marketing, operations, product development, and strategy for over two decades.