How Old Do You Have to Be for Medicare?

How Old Do You Have to Be for Medicare?

About 18% of the entire U.S. population is covered by Medicare, as of 2020 (Statista). However, not just anyone call enroll in Medicare.

Here’s everything you need to know about what age you’re eligible for Medicare, when there are exceptions, and where to go for enrollment help.

Need Medicare or retirement planning help? The Sams/Hockaday team specializes in Medicare health insurance as well as retirement planning. Read more about what we do and schedule an appointment with the agent of your choice today!

What is the earliest age you can get Medicare?

The earliest age you can get Medicare is at 65 years old.  

However, you might qualify for Medicare much earlier if you have received Social Security Disability benefits for 24 months, have End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), or have Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease).

At what age are you eligible for Medicare Part B?

You are eligible for Medicare Part B when you turn 65. Your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) for Medicare is a 7-month window that begins 3 months before you turn 65, includes the month of your 65th birthday, and extends for 3 months after your birthday.

If you sign up for Medicare Part B during the 3 months before your 65th birthday, Part B coverage would begin on the first day of your birthday month.

If your birthday is on the first of the month, your entire 7-month window gets pushed back a month. For example, a June 1st birthday would actually get treated as a May birthday month. Your 7-month IEP would be from February 1 to August 31.

Can I get Medicare at age 62?

A lot of people decide to retire before they turn 65. In fact, according to a Gallup 2021 survey, the average retirement age is 62.

However, even if you decide to retire at age 62, you still cannot enroll in Medicare until you turn 65, unless you qualify due to a disability.

If you need health insurance before you can sign up for Medicare, there are a few options:

  • A Marketplace plan
  • COBRA (lasts for 18 months after you leave a company)
  • Healthcare sharing plan, like Medi-Share
  • Short-Term Health Insurance
  • Medicaid (if you meet the income requirements)

What disabilities qualify for Medicare under age 65?

If you have ESRD or ALS, you automatically qualify for Medicare coverage, no matter your age.

The other way to qualify for Medicare under age 65 is if you have received 24 months of Social Security Disability benefits.  

There is a list of disabilities that qualify you for SSD, and therefore early Medicare coverage. Impairments include:

  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Special senses and speech
  • Respiratory disorders
  • Cardiovascular system
  • Digestive system
  • Genitourinary disorders
  • Hematological disorders
  • Skin disorders
  • Endocrine disorders
  • Congenital disorders that affect multiple body systems
  • Neurological disorders
  • Mental disorders
  • Cancer (malignant neoplastic diseases)
  • Immune system disorders

For more information about specific impairments in these categories, visit

How do you find out if you are eligible for Medicare?

The easiest way to find out if you’re eligible for Medicare is to visit Medicare’s eligibility calculator.

Here, you can find out when you’re eligible for Medicare and what your premium estimates will be.

If you have any questions about your situation, such as if you plan to keep working or want to delay coverage, call our office! We can help you make the right decision and assist with your Medicare enrollment.

Is the Medicare age going to be lowered to 60?

The Improving Medicare Coverage Act, if passed, would lower the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 60, expanding Medicare coverage to at least 23 million people.

This bill was introduced in the House in September of 2021, and no new actions have happened since. You can follow this bill on

In our experience, bills like this that make major changes to the Medicare program get a lot of press and then don’t go anywhere. That said, we’ll keep our eye on it and will keep you informed of any advancements.

How do you sign up for Medicare?

Signing up for Medicare is simple, and you can even do it online. If you’re not comfortable enrolling online, you can call your local Social Security office and request an appointment.  

Get all the Medicare sign-up steps here: How to Sign Up for Medicare in Illinois


There are a lot of rules and fine print surrounding Medicare coverage, which can make the enrollment process confusing.

If you’d like personalized help and guidance, call our office to schedule an appointment with a licensed insurance agent. We can help you sign up for Medicare and ensure you don’t miss any critical enrollment deadlines.

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Disclaimer: We do not offer every plan available in your area. Currently we represent 4 organizations which offer 41 products in your area. Please contact, 1‑800‑MEDICARE, or your local State Health Insurance Program to get information on all of your options.