Across the United States, Medicare has the same eligibility requirements. If you’re familiar with Medicare already, you’ll know that plans typically are only available to people age 65 and older. Note that these requirements are set by Original Medicare, which is a combination of Medicare Parts A and B. Original Medicare also will always offer the same coverage no matter where you live due to federal regulations.
However, Medicare Advantage coverage, which is offered through private companies like Aetna, Bright, Humana, and Oscar, does vary depending on which state you live in.
Besides being age 65 or older, Medicare requires that beneficiaries:
- Have paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years, either personally or through their spouse
Qualify for and are receiving retirement benefits from Social Security or
- Have qualified for and are receiving retirement benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board
- Are eligible for benefits from Social Security or the RRB, but have not filed for them
- Have had Medicare-covered government employee benefits
Keep in mind that technically, Medicare is not free. However, if you met the above requirements you should qualify for premium-free Part A coverage. Also, if you automatically qualify for Medicare benefits, you will not need to sign up.