To be eligible for Medicare, you must be a US citizen or a legal resident. Legal residents must have lived in the US for at least 5 consecutive years. These years must include the 5 years just before applying for Medicare. Along with residency requirements, you must meet one of the following criteria:
- Age 65 or older
- Younger than 65 with a qualifying disability
- Any age with a diagnosis of end-stage renal disease or ALS
If you feel you have met the above requirements, then it might just be time to enroll. When you know it is time to enroll you will need to contact Social Security if you are not currently receiving Social Security benefits. You can visit SSA.gov/Medicare to enroll online, or contact your local Social Security office. If you are receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits, you should automatically be enrolled and will receive your Medicare Card in the mail.
Please remember that Medicare is not Medicaid.
Although both are government programs and help people pay for health costs, they are very different from on another. Medicare for the most part is for people who are older or disabled. Medicaid is for those who may have a limited income and resources. Although some may qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid, it is very important to know that they are two different programs. Medicare is governed by the Federal government, while Medicaid is governed by the States.