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Medicare Eligibility for Spouses & Eligibility After a Divorce


Medicare and spousal benefits, as well as benefits after a divorce, may surprise you. A former marriage may qualify you for Medicare benefits. Many individuals are eligible for Part A through a former spouse, even though they never worked. Depending on the situation, you may qualify for coverage through an ex. Here’s what you should know.

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Medicare for Divorced Spouse

The Social Security Administration requires you to meet specific criteria to qualify for Medicare benefits from a divorce. Qualifying for Medicare is different than Social Security benefits. You can be eligible for your spouse/ex-spouse Social Security benefits at age 62, and you won’t qualify for Medicare until age 65. Of course, you may be eligible for Medicare sooner if you have End-Stage Renal Disease or disability for at least two years.

If you’re 62 and your spouse or ex-spouse is 65, you CANNOT use their Medicare benefits for eligibility. You must wait until the age of 65 to qualify unless you’re eligible through disability.

If the following situations apply, you may qualify for Medicare after divorce:

  • Your ex-spouse is at least 62 years old and eligible for Social Security.
  • You must be currently unmarried.
  • You’re at least 65 years old.
  • You were married for 10+ years.

Medicare Part A benefits are free when you, a current or former spouse, have at least 40 calendar quarters of work or ten years of work history paying into Social Security.

Spouse and Ex-Spouse Eligibility for Medicare

There’s no family plan for Medicare; plans are individual. Meaning, your spouse’s eligibility may not match yours.

For those currently married: Your spouse must be at least 65 years old, and you need to be married for at least a year.

Those currently divorced: As long as you’re single after being married for at least ten years to a spouse eligible for Medicare, you’ll qualify.

If you’re widowed: If after at least nine months of marriage, your eligible spouse dies and you’re single, you may qualify for premium-free Part A benefits.

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There are always exceptions to eligibility; if you’re unsure about your premium-free Part A benefits, call the Social Security office.

The Medicare-eligible spouse can’t be under 62; if this occurs and you don’t qualify on your own accord, you must pay Part A premiums until your spouse is 62.

Medicare After Death of a Spouse

The death of a spouse can change many aspects of your life, including health policies. If you get benefits under your spouse’s retirement plan – coverage may change after they pass away. If you lose Medicare coverage due to the death of a spouse, you become eligible for a Special Election Period; but, that period doesn’t last forever.

Social Security surplus helps fund the deficit to help those in need of survivor benefits or those on disability.

It’s your responsibility to enroll in a new policy as soon as possible to ensure eligibility. If you recently lost a spouse and your Medicare policy, please call an agent at the number above to start discussing your options.

Can a Non-Working Spouse Qualify for Medicare?

Yes, as long as the working spouse worked enough quarters and you’ve been married for at least one year.

What happens with my Medicare eligibility if there are multiple marriages and divorces?

You may only collect from one ex. Eligibility depends on the length of marriages and other factors. Your marriage status and if your former spouse is alive can affect your eligibility. When you’re unsure, call the Social Security Administration.

Getting Help with Your Medicare Coverage After Divorce

Things can get messy after a divorce, and you may not know what your options are for Medicare. Also, Medicare and Social Security can be challenging to understand.

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Some people worry about Medicare or Social Security running out of funds. But, the National Committee of preserving Social Security and Medicare won’t let that happen.

And, when you have any questions about Medicare or your coverage options, we’re here to help you along.

Give us a call at the number above for more information on help with costs. Can’t call? We get it, fill out our online rate form, and get your quote today.

Jagger Esch

Jagger Esch is the Medicare expert for MedicareFAQ and the founder, president, and CEO of Elite Insurance Partners and MedicareFAQ.com. Since the inception of his first company in 2012, he has been dedicated to helping those eligible for Medicare by providing them with resources to educate themselves on all their Medicare options. He is featured in many publications as well as writes regularly for other expert columns regarding Medicare.

53 thoughts on “Medicare Eligibility for Spouses & Eligibility After a Divorce

  1. I have signed for Medicare part A only in May 2020. as I am covered under my wife’s employer plan for which we pay the premium. However, Hypothetically speaking if for any reason I get separated from my wife and i need Medicare Part B At thAt time would I need to pay penalty to get it. …. or is there a penalty free enrollment period after such an eventuality. your response will be appreciated.

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