If you are younger than the age of 65 but suffer from rare or serious diseases or health conditions, you may still meet the requirements for Medicare. In fact, about 16 percent of enrollees qualify for benefits before turning 65.
The conditions that may make you eligible for early Medicare enrollment include End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), Lou Gehrig’s disease and certain disabilities. Read on to learn about some of the conditions that may make allow someone to qualify for Medicare regardless of age.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
Also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, ALS affects your nervous system. The disease causes problems with your muscles, such as spasms, weakness and involuntary movement. As it progresses, it can make it difficult for the affected individual to speak, swallow and breathe. It is a very rare condition.
End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD)
ESRD is a condition that can ultimately cause permanent kidney failure. To qualify for Medicare due to ESRD, your kidneys must no longer work and you need regular dialysis or a transplant.
You or your spouse must have also worked the required time to collect benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board. You may also qualify if you are a government employee with ESRD.
You can qualify for Medicare if you have a disability that meets the Social Security Administration’s conditions. The disability must impair you severely and affect your ability to earn a living.
Applicants can qualify for Medicare after receiving payments from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board for 24 months. You can sign up 3 months before and 3 months after the 25th month.
If you sign up during the first 3 months of your 7-month period, your coverage will start on the 25th benefit month. If you wait until the 25th month or after, your coverage will begin 1 month after signing up.
When you enroll in a health insurance plan, you typically pay a monthly premium. But you may meet the requirements for premium-free or reduced cost coverage.