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How Old Do You Have To Be To Get Medicare

Summary: Most people will become eligible for Medicare when they turn age 65, however there are circumstances in which you can enroll in Medicare at a younger age. In this article, we’ll explore the age limits for Medicare eligibility and look at some of the discussions regarding changing this limit. Estimated Read Time: 5 min

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Table of Contents:

  1. How Old Must You Be to Get Medicare Coverage?
  2. Can I Get Medicare at Age 55?
  3. If I Retire, Can I Get Medicare at 62?
  4. What is the Minimum Age for Getting Medicare Due to a Disability?
  5. Will the Age for Medicare Eligibility Change?
  6. How to Know When You Can Get Medicare

In the past, retiring and getting Medicare occurred at the same time: age 65. Today, however, the age of retirement has increased, while the age for Medicare has remained the same. This, coupled with recent discussions regarding changing the age for Medicare eligibility, has led to some confusion regarding how old you have to be to get Medicare.

Below, we’ll provide answers to some frequently asked questions regarding what age you must be to get Medicare and provide some insight on the conversations revolving around changing the age for Medicare.

How Old Must You Be to Get Medicare Coverage?

Generally, you must be at least 65 years old to enroll in Medicare. However, in certain cases, you may be eligible to enroll in Medicare at a younger age.

You may be eligible for Medicare under the age of 65 if you receive Social Security Disability benefits or if you have been diagnosed with ESRD or ALS. If you do not meet these requirements, then you will need to wait until you turn 65 to receive Medicare coverage.

Though there isn’t a maximum age for enrolling in Medicare if you’re older than 65, it’s recommended that you sign up as soon as you are able. For most, age 65 is the best time to enroll in Medicare Part A.

The best age for enrolling in Medicare Part B will depend on a few factors, such as whether you are working past 65 and are still covered under your employer’s health plan.

Is There an Age Requirement for Supplemental Coverage?

To supplement your Medicare coverage with drug coverage, Medigap, or a Medicare Advantage plan, you must first be eligible for Original Medicare. Therefore, you must be 65 years of age or older, or qualify under the age of 65 due to a disability, ALS, or ESRD.

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How old you are when you get Medicare can impact some of your options when it comes to supplemental coverage. For example, if you get Medicare under the age of 65, your options for Medicare Supplement plans may be limited in some states.

Can I Get Medicare at Age 55?

You may have seen articles or online discussions mentioning Medicare for those who are 55. Though efforts have been made to allow people aged 55 to 64 to get Medicare, there has not been an official bill that has passed yet. Here’s what you need to know:

In 2017, the S.1742 Medicare at 55 Act was introduced in the Senate. This bill aimed to allow individuals aged 55 to 64 to buy into Medicare and/or Medicare Advantage plans. Though this bill was introduced to Congress in 2017, there has been no further progress made.

Since the Medicare at 55 Act was never passed, you cannot get Medicare at age 55 unless you qualify due to a disability or being diagnosed with ESRD or ALS.

If I Retire, Can I Get Medicare at 62?

Retirement and Medicare typically go hand in hand, however, it’s important to understand that retiring does not mean you immediately get Medicare. Though you can begin collecting retirement at age 62, you will still need to wait until you turn 65 to get your Medicare coverage.

Many people choose to wait until their full retirement age to leave the workforce, which would make them old enough to get Medicare as well.

If you choose to retire at 62, you’ll want to ensure you have other healthcare coverage in place until you are eligible for Medicare at age 65.

What is the Minimum Age for Getting Medicare Due to a Disability?

There is no minimum age for getting Medicare coverage if you qualify due to a disability. However, you will need to be able to qualify for disability benefits, which typically involves having worked a certain length of time. After you receive disability benefits for 24 months, you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare.

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If you are diagnosed with End-Stage Renal Disease or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) you do not need to wait the 24 months before getting Medicare.

You can also get Medicare coverage regardless of age if you qualify due to having End-Stage Renal Disease. Even children can qualify for Medicare due to ESRD if certain requirements are met.

Will the Age for Medicare Eligibility Change?

In recent years, there have been multiple discussions and proposals regarding changing the age at which you become eligible for Medicare. As mentioned above, the Medicare at 55 bill was introduced in 2017 but failed to gain any traction.

Today, there are several people in favor of raising the age for Medicare to 67 to align with Social Security’s full retirement age. Conversely, many people also support lowering the age for Medicare eligibility to 60 to allow more people to get coverage. There are pros and cons to each argument, however, there has not been any indication that either of these proposals will become law.

As of 2024, the age for Medicare remains 65 (with the exception for individuals with disabilities or certain conditions). At MedicareFAQ, we strive to keep you up to date with Medicare news. If, and when, the age requirements for Medicare change, you can get the latest information here.

How to Know When You Can Get Medicare

If you are unsure about your eligibility for Medicare, it is essential to speak with a licensed agent who can walk you through the eligibility process and help you find Medicare plans available in your area.

For a personalized comparison of all the top Medicare plans in your area, complete our online rate form. At MedicareFAQ we are dedicated to helping our clients enroll in plans that fulfill their healthcare needs and meet their budget.


MedicareFAQ is dedicated to providing you with authentic and trustworthy Medicare information. We have strict sourcing guidelines and work diligently to serve our readers with accurate and up-to-date content.

  1. Who is Eligible for Medicare, HHS. Accessed March 2024.
  2. Which Path is Right for Me? Medicare.gov. Accessed March 2024.
  3. S.1742 – Medicare at 55 Act, Congress.gov. Accessed March 2024.
David Haass

David Haass

David Haass is the Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder of Elite Insurance Partners and MedicareFAQ.com. He is a member and regular contributor to Forbes Finance Council and stay up-to-date with the latest Medicare trends and changes. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Management from the University of Florida.
Ashlee Zareczny

Ashlee Zareczny

Compliance Manager
Ashlee Zareczny is the Compliance Manager for MedicareFAQ. As a licensed Medicare agent in all 50 states, she is dedicated to educating those eligible for Medicare by providing the necessary resources and tools. Additionally, Ashlee trains new and tenured Medicare agents on CMS compliance guidelines. Ashlee is a Medicare expert who specializes in Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage, and Medicare Part D education.


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