Medicare for People With Disabilities

Last Editorial Review: 12/9/2005

WebMD Medical Reference

If you are under age 65, you are eligible for Medicare if:

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?

Waiting Periods

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. 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
  • Medigap
  • Retiree Benefits
  • Long-Term Benefits
  • Decisions: What's The Right Coverage for You?
  • Filing a Medicare Claim
  • Getting More Information

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