Medicare is health insurance for individuals 65 years of age or older or individuals under the age of 65 with certain disabilities. You may qualify under the following conditions:

  • You are turning 65
  • You are under 65 and have been receiving disability benefits from Social Security for 24 months
  • You are under 65 and have been receiving certain disability benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB)
  • You have End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD)
  • You have Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease)

Turning 65

If you are approaching your 65th birthday, you will have a 7-month Initial Enrollment Period that begins three months before you turn 65, includes the month of your birthday, and ends 3 months after you turn 65. During this enrollment period, you will have the opportunity to enroll in Original Medicare or any Medicare Advantage plan in your service area.

Under 65

You will automatically get Part A and Part B if you have been receiving disability benefits from Social Security or the RRB for 24 months. Three months before your 25th month of disability, you will receive a red, white, and blue Medicare card in the mail.


You can receive Medicare benefits at any age if you have been diagnosed with End-Stage Renal Disease and you meet the following criteria:

  • Your kidneys no longer work
  • You need regular dialysis or have had a kidney transplant
  • You’ve worked the required time under Social Security, the RRB, or as a government employee OR you are already eligible or receiving Social Security or RRB benefits OR you are the spouse or child of someone who meets those requirements.

Your Medicare coverage will likely start on the 4th month of your dialysis treatments, or during the first month of dialysis if the following conditions are met:

  • You participate in a home dialysis training program offered by a Medicare-certified training facility that teaches you how to give yourself dialysis treatments at home.
  • Your doctor expects you to finish training and be able to do your own dialysis treatments.
  • The regular course of dialysis is maintained throughout the waiting period that would otherwise apply.


If you have Lou Gehrig’s Disease, you will be eligible to receive Medicare Part A and Part B the month you qualify for disability benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board.