Determine if You Qualify for Medicare

Medicare is the federal health insurance program for seniors and people with disabilities. You qualify if you are over age 65 and have worked full-time for a total of at least 10 years, or have received Social Security disability income for a total of at least two years. Also, individuals with Lou Gehrig's disease or end stage kidney disease automatically qualify for Medicare.

Medicare typically pays a large portion of participants' health care costs, but not all of them. For people who want to reduce the uncertainty about the amount they need to budget for health care, Medicare supplement policies help cover out-of-pocket costs that Medicare doesn't cover. Insurance companies generally must automatically accept you for Medicare supplement coverage if you apply during the six-month open enrollment period beginning on the day you join basic Medicare coverage.

It is important to note that not everyone needs a Medicare supplement policy. There are other health coverages that may also pay for Medicare's out-of-pocket costs, such as group health coverage from an employer or as part of a retirement benefit, a Medicare Advantage plan, Medicaid, or a Medicare savings program.

For more information about Medicare eligibility requirements, contact Medicare at 1-800-Medicare (1-800-633-4227) or online at

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Last updated: 11/17/2014