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.
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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 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.
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.
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.
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:
If your spouse has died, you may qualify for Medicare based on their work record if all off the following apply:
You can sign up for Medicare one of four ways:
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 to speak with a licensed insurance agent today.
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Christian Worstell is a licensed insurance agent and a Senior Staff Writer for MedicareAdvantage.com. He is passionate about helping people navigate the complexities of Medicare and understand their coverage options.
His work has been featured in outlets such as Vox, MSN, and The Washington Post, and he is a frequent contributor to health care and finance blogs.
Christian is a graduate of Shippensburg University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He currently lives in Raleigh, NC.
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