If you’re a US citizen, you’ve probably heard a lot about Medicare. It’s the health insurance program that helps cover the costs of doctor’s visits, hospital stays, and other medical services for people who are 65 or older.
However, you may be wondering if you’re eligible for Medicare about Part B if you’re not a citizen or green card holder. It’s important to understand the eligibility requirements for Medicare before you sign up.
Is Medicare Only For US Citizens?
First and foremost, you need to be a US citizen or green card holder who has been living in the U.S. for at least 5 years. You need to also be 65 or older or qualify for Medicare due to a disability.
Second, you need to have a minimum of 40 quarters of coverage (QCs) based on your work history in the United States. These QCs are earned through paying payroll taxes on your US employment income.
Alternatively, you can also have a qualifying illness like Lou Gehrig’s disease or end stage renal failure. These are considered special conditions that can qualify you for Medicare Part A for free.
Third, you must have received Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits for at least two years before age 65. This can include your own disability or a spouse’s, but it does not have to be consecutive.
You must enroll in Parts A and B as soon as you become eligible for Medicare, preferably during the initial enrollment period which is three months before your 65th birthday, includes your birthday month, and ends three months after. If you do not enroll during this period, you will be subject to a penalty. This penalty can increase up to 10 percent of the national base beneficiary premium.