WebMD Medical Reference
If you are under age 65, you are eligible for Medicare if:
- You are disabled and are getting Social Security disability payments.
- You have Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS).
- You have kidney failure (end-stage renal disease) and you need dialysis or a kidney transplant.
You are entitled to all the benefits of Medicare plans. In some states, you may also buy a Medigap plan. To find out if you can buy Medigap in your state, contact your State Health Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program.
- To learn how to sign up for Medicare, see Enrolling in Medicare.
- For more on what Medicare covers, see What Does Medicare Cover?
There may be a waiting period before you qualify for Medicare:
|Lou Gehrig's Disease (ALS)||No waiting period.|
|Kidney failure||Three months after you start dialysis.|
|All other disabilities||24 months after you qualify for Social Security disability payments.|
For Kidney Patients
Your waiting period may be shorter than three months if:
- You learn how to give yourself dialysis at home.
- You have a kidney transplant scheduled within two months.
- Your kidney transplant is delayed.
- You have had dialysis before.
Your Medicare coverage ends:
- 12 months after you stop getting dialysis.
- 36 months after a kidney transplant.
Reviewed by Cynthia Haines, MD, August 2005.
SOURCES: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Medicare.gov web site. National Council on the Aging web site.
© 2005 WebMD Inc. All rights reserved.
For additional Medicare information, please read the following articles:
- New Benefits At-a-Glance
- Enrolling in Medicare
- Medicare Coverage
- Drug Discount Cards
- Drug Benefits in 2006
- Retiree Benefits
- Long-Term Benefits
- Decisions: What's The Right Coverage for You?
- Filing a Medicare Claim
- Getting More Information