Can You Receive Medicare at Age 62 or Younger?

In many cases you cannot get Medicare at age 62 or younger. However, there are a few exceptions, such as if you having a qualifying disability or Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS) or end-stage renal disease (ESRD).

You typically must be at least 65 years old to receive Medicare, even if you are receiving Social Security retirement benefits. There are some exceptions to this rule, however.

Smiling couple outside at a park

Reaching age 62 can affect your spouse's Medicare premiums

Although reaching age 62 does not qualify you for Medicare, it can carry some significance for your spouse if they receive Medicare benefits.

When one spouse in a couple turns 62 years old, the other spouse who is at least 65 years old may now qualify for premium-free Medicare Part A if they haven’t yet qualified based on their own work history.  

  • For example, Gerald is 65 years old, but he doesn’t qualify for premium-free Part A because he did not work the minimum number of years required for eligibility.

    He can still receive Medicare Part A, but he will have to pay a monthly premium for it. In 2020, the Medicare Part A premium can be as high as $458 per month.

  • Let’s say Gerald’s wife, Jessica, reaches age 62 and has worked for the required number of years to qualify for premium-free Part A once she turns 65.

    Because Jessica is now 62 years old and has met the working requirement, Gerald may now receive premium-free Part A.

In the above example, Jessica has not become eligible for Medicare by turning 62. Her husband Gerald, however, is now eligible to receive his Medicare Part A benefits without paying a monthly premium any longer.

Medicare eligibility at age 65

You must typically meet two requirements to receive Medicare benefits:

  • You are at least 65 years old
  • You are a U.S. citizen or a legal resident for at least five years

In order to receive premium-free Part A of Medicare, you must meet both of the above requirements and qualify for full Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits, which requires working and paying Social Security taxes for at least 10 full years (40 quarters).

Learn more about Medicare eligibility at and before age 65 by referring to this helpful chart and reading more information below.

Medicare Eligibility by Age
Age Eligibility for Medicare How age affects Medicare coverage Other benefit eligibility
65 - Typically eligible for Medicare if you're a U.S. citizen or legal resident for at least 5 years. - If you won't be automatically enrolled when you turn 65, your Initial Enrollment Period begins 3 months before your 65th birthday. -If you were born between 1943 and 1954, your full Social Security retirement age is 66. Your Social Security retirement benefits will be reduced to 93.3% if you take them at age 65.
62 - Not typically eligible for Medicare, unless you receive SSA or RRB disability benefits or have ALS or ESRD. - If your spouse pays a premium for Part A, they may qualify for premium-free Part A once you turn 62 if you worked and paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 full years. -If you take Social Security retirement benefits at age 62, your retirement benefit could be reduced by as much as 30% if you were born in 1960 or later.
Under age 62 - Not typically eligible for Medicare, unless you receive SSA or RRB disability benefits or have ALS or ESRD.​ - Age doesn't affect your Medicare coverage if you qualify before age 65 for one of the reasons listed. You may also qualify for a Medicare Special Needs Plan. - You won't qualify for Social Security retirement benefits before age 62 unless you are disabled or blind and have enough work credits, or if your spouse qualifies.

Medicare eligibility for people under 62

There are a few exceptions for Medicare age limits that can allow people younger than 65 and under age 62 to enroll in Medicare.

  • If you have ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), you are immediately eligible for Medicare regardless of your age as soon as your Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board disability benefits begin.
  • You may also qualify for Medicare if you have kidney failure that requires dialysis or a kidney transplant, which is known as end-stage renal disease (ESRD).

  • You may also qualify for Medicare at age 62 or any age before 65 if you receive disability benefits from either Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board for at least 24 months.

If you qualify for Medicare under the age of 65 because of a disability, you might also qualify for a Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plan.

Can a 62 year old get Medicaid?

Yes. Medicaid qualification is based on income, not age. While Medicaid eligibility differs from one state to another, it is typically available to people of lower incomes and resources including pregnant women, the disabled, the elderly and children. 

Learn more about the difference between Medicare and Medicaid.

Get answers to your Medicare questions and enroll in a plan

If you have further questions about Medicare eligibility, contact a licensed insurance agent today. A licensed agent can help answer your questions and help you compare Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) that are available where you live.

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