Besides being 65 or older, other ways to qualify for Medicare include:
- Being a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident
- Being under 65 and having a disability and getting disability benefits for 24 months
- Being under 65 and having an illness (End-Stage Renal Disease or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, for example)
- Having a stable home address
- Not being imprisoned or in a correctional facility
Another important thing to note is if you are currently getting Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits, you will most likely be automatically enrolled in Original Medicare (Part A and B). If you are not automatically enrolled, you will have to manually enroll during the Initial Enrollment Period and do so through the Social Security Administration.
If you qualify because of End-Stage Renal Disease, it is because you either need dialysis or a kidney transplant. If you need regular dialysis, your Medicare coverage will start soon after you receive your first treatment. If you get a transplant and, as a result, no longer need dialysis, you will lose your Medicare eligibility.
If you qualify because of ALS, your eligibility will start immediately.