Medicare Eligibility and Enrollment
Medicare is available as senior health insurance for all people 65 or older in Illinois and those with disabilities or permanent kidney failure. Eligibility and enrollment in Part A and Part B is a very simple process.
If you are over the age of 65 and you or your spouse paid Medicare taxes for at least ten years, then you are eligible to receive Medicare Part A without having to pay a premium. Part A is essentially hospital insurance. that includes inpatient care in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, hospice, and home health care. You may also receive Part A without paying a premium if you are receiving retirement benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board, are eligible to receive benefits but have not filed yet or you or your spouse were employed by a Medicare-covered government employer.
If you are under the age of 65, you may still be able to receive Medicare benefits without having to pay a premium in IL if you have been entitled to get Social Security benefits or Railroad benefits for 2 years, or you are a kidney transplant patient or currently receiving dialysis treatments. In addition, in most cases, if you or your spouse did not pay Medicare taxes while you were employed, you can still purchase benefits. However, the same age restrictions apply and you must be a United States citizen or permanent resident.
Typically, if you are receiving benefits either from Social Security, disability, or Railroad, you should receive information in the mail three months prior to turning 65. In fact, enrollment in Parts A and B is automatic if you live in Illinois. However, because the premium for Medicare Part B is deducted from your Social Security benefits, you have the right to refuse. Keep in mind; you are automatically signed up for Part A, but not for Part B. You have a 7-month period – your initial enrollment period – to sign up and this period begins three months before the month of your 65th birthday. If you are not receiving benefits currently, it is your responsibility to contact Social Security three months prior to turning 65. Even if you do not plan on retiring at age 65, you can still sign up. You may also be qualified for a Special Enrollment.