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To determine if an individual is eligible for Medicare, there are a few things that should be considered. First, any U.S. citizen or legal resident who is 65 or older is likely eligible at least for some types of Medicare, the most popular being Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B. In other cases, those who are disabled or experiencing certain physical ailments may also be eligible for Medicare.
One of the most confusing aspects for many people is that those who are eligible for Medicare may or may not be receiving other Social Security benefits. Many believe the two are linked when they are not. The fact that they are both associated with senior citizens and retirement notwithstanding, they are two completely different programs with two different standards of eligibility. Even those not receiving benefits can be eligible for Medicare.
The most common way to become eligible for Medicare is simply to turn age 65. In this situation, Medicare Part A can be granted with no premium requirement. Medicare Part A, is the type of Medicare coverage will pay for hospitalization and other major healthcare services. Medicare Part B can also be obtained, but will likely require a premium. Part B is Medicare insurance that pays for services such as routine doctor's visits.
Those under the age of 65 may be eligible for Medicare under certain situations as well. Those receiving disability from Social Security will be eligible for Medicare if they have received those benefits for at least 24 months. The other situation is for end-state renal disease. This is kidney failure that depends on dialysis or transplant in order to prolong life.
It should be noted that eligibility for one part of Medicare often makes an individual eligible for all parts of the program. However, whereas Part A is there to take care of catastrophic health situations, Medicare Part B and Medicare Part D may not be considered as crucial. Part D is for prescription drug coverage. As such, those interested in those programs will often pay a premium for those services. Therefore, eligibility also depends on a willingness to pay the price, for these other two portions of the program.
The other requirement in order to be eligible for Medicare is entirely up to the individual. There is an application process that must be started. This process can be completed online, over the phone or by going into a local Social Security office. The goal is to make the process as convenient as possible for the vast majority of people.