Medicare Eligibility and Benefits for a Non-Working Spouse

It isn’t uncommon for a non-working person to be covered under their spouse’s health insurance plan. And Medicare coverage is no different in that regard.

While there are of course some exceptions and special circumstances that apply, Medicare can and does provide coverage for the spouse of a beneficiary, even if that person does not qualify for Medicare on their own.

Learn more about Medicare coverage for non-working spouses below.

Couple looking out of a window

Eligibility for Medicare as a non-working spouse

A non-working spouse’s eligibility to receive Medicare depends largely on the age of both that person and their partner.

All of the following scenarios assume the non-working spouse has not paid Medicare taxes for 40 quarters (ten years) in their lifetime. (If you paid 10 years of Medicare taxes, you are likely eligible for Medicare yourself).

If you turn 65 first

If you turn 65 and are eligible for premium-free Part A of Medicare (hospital insurance), your spouse will be eligible for premium-free Part A, as well as Medicare Part B (medical insurance), regardless of their age or how much they have worked.

If your spouse turns 65 first

When your non-working spouse turns 65, they will be eligible for premium-free Part A and Medicare Part B if you are at least 62 years and have paid at least ten years of Medicare taxes.

If you are not yet 62, your spouse may still enroll in Medicare Part A (and Part B, which is optional). They will have to pay a premium for their Part A coverage. Once you turn 62 (and if you paid at least 10 years of Medicare taxes), your spouse will then be able to receive premium-free Part A.

*You must be married for at least one year before an older spouse can be eligible for Medicare based on your work record.

Other parts of Medicare

Can a non-working spouse also become eligible for other types of Medicare coverage?

The answer is yes. Enrolling in Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage), Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage) or Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) only requires enrollment in Medicare Part A and Part B in order to apply (with some exceptions).

Once your spouse enrolls in both Medicare Part A and Part B, they may be eligible to enroll in other types of Medicare coverage.

Divorcees and widows/widowers

If you are divorced and do not qualify for Medicare based on your own work history, you may still be eligible for Medicare based if all of the following apply:

  • You were married to that person for at least 10 years
  • That person qualifies for premium-free Part A
  • You are currently not married to anyone else

If your spouse has died, you may qualify for Medicare based on their work record if all off the following apply:

  • You were married for at least nine months before they died
  • They paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years during their lifetime
  • You are currently not married to anyone else

Signing up for Original Medicare

You can sign up for Medicare one of four ways:

Medicare Advantage plans for a non-working spouse

If you and your spouse are eligible for Medicare Part A and Part B, then you are likely eligible for a Medicare Advantage plan.

Medicare Advantage plans offer the same benefits as Medicare Part A and Part B combined into one plan. Some Medicare Advantage plans may also offer additional benefits such as prescription drug coverage and coverage for dental, vision and hearing care.

To learn more about Medicare Advantage plans for you and your spouse, call a licensed insurance agent at TTY Users: 711 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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MedicareAdvantage.com is a website owned and operated by TZ Insurance Solutions LLC. TZ Insurance Solutions LLC and TruBridge, Inc. represent Medicare Advantage Organizations and Prescription Drug Plans having Medicare contracts; enrollment in any plan depends upon contract renewal.

Plan availability varies by region and state. For a complete list of available plans, please contact 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048), 24 hours a day/7 days a week or consult www.medicare.gov.

Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed this information.