Key Takeaways

  • Who is eligible for Medicare? Most people over age 65 are eligible for Medicare coverage.

  • You must be a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident for at least 5 consecutive years.

  • Certain people under 65 may be eligible for Medicare, if they meet specific criteria.

Medicare is a federal health insurance program for Americans age 65 and older. It also covers some younger people under certain circumstances. Signing up for Medicare is easy. But first, you must be eligible to receive benefits. Performing a Medicare eligibility check is the first step you should take before trying to enroll.

Who is eligible for Medicare?

When determining Medicare eligibility, it’s important to understand that Original Medicare has two parts:

  • Part A (Hospital Insurance): Part A covers the cost of inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing facility care, hospice, and related costs.
  • Part B (Medical Insurance). Part B covers outpatient care like doctor visits as well as the costs associated with home health care and durable medical equipment.

To qualify for Medicare Parts A and B, the following criteria must be met. 


  • You must be a United States citizen OR 
  • You must be a permanent resident of the United States for at least 5 consecutive years.  


Most people are eligible for Medicare when they reach the age of 65. If you are under 65, you may qualify for benefits if you have certain disabilities that prevent you from working.

What disabilities qualify for Medicare under 65?

If you are over 18 and under age 65, you may qualify for Medicare benefits if you:

  • Have received Social Security disability benefits (SSDI) for at least 2 years, OR 
  • Have been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease, also called Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), AND 
    • Are starting to get Social Security disability. Usually, you can get Medicare the 6th month after Social Security found that your disability started, OR 
  • Have been diagnosed with End-Stage Renal Disease, sometimes called ESRD, AND 
    • Have been on dialysis for 3 months OR 
    • Have had a kidney transplant. 

Who is not eligible for Medicare?

You are not eligible for Medicare if:

  • You are in the U.S. on a visa.
  • You are not a U.S. citizen or permanent legal resident (even if you’re married to one).

Get a No-Cost Medicare Eligibility Check

What does it mean to be Medicare eligible? We’re here to help. Get connected with an unbiased expert who can help you determine if you qualify for benefits right now.