Medicare Explained

Eligibility for Medicare

I Am Turning 65

If you are turning 65 within the next year, it's time to start thinking about Medicare and your coverage options.

Understanding how Medicare works and transitioning to new medical coverage can seem confusing and overwhelming. We're here to make it easier.

Who is Eligible for Medicare?

Medicare is a federal health insurance program that serves people ages 65 and older or people with qualifying disabilities. To qualify for Medicare, you must be a legal resident living in the United States for at least five consecutive years and meet one of the following requirements:

• Age 65 or older

• Younger than 65 with a qualifying disability (a medical or physical condition lasting, or expected to last, more than 12 months and that prevents you from working)

• Any age with end-stage renal disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or kidney transplant)

Some people may also be "dual eligible," meaning they are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid, also known as MediCal.

Your Medicare Health Plan Options

When enrolling in Medicare for the first time, there are many health plan options you can consider. Your Medicare choices can be divided into two options: Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage. If you continue to work after you become Medicare eligible, you may decide to continue coverage through insurance provided by your employer.

Original Medicare

Original Medicare is a fee-for-service plan managed by the federal government. When you sign up, you receive a Medicare card, which entitles you to Medicare-approved services. Original Medicare allows you to choose any doctor, hospital or other facility that accepts Medicare.