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Medicare is a federal health insurance program designed for only people who are 65 or older. People who are under 65 are not able to join Medicare, unless they have been on Social Security disability for more than 24 months, and have surpassed the waiting period for Medicare coverage. Additionally, people who can also benefit from this program are people with certain disabilities such as end-stage renal disease, and other permanent disabilities.
Similar to Social Security, Medicare is an entitlement program that most U.S. citizens become eligible for by working and paying taxes for a minimum period of time; which is typically 40 quarters (10 years). Most people join the Medicare program after turning 65 years old, or when they retire and leave their group health insurance.
“Original Medicare” consists of Part A and Part B. Together, they provide the foundation for your health insurance coverage.
Click on a photo below to learn more about each part of Medicare
If you fail to enroll in Medicare Part B during your enrollment window when you are first eligible to sign up, it’s important to know you will be subject to pay a late enrollment penalty. Your monthly premium may go up 10% for each 12-month period you should have had Part B, but didn't sign up. In most cases, you’ll have to pay this penalty each time you pay your premiums, for as long as you have Part B. And, the penalty increases the longer you go without Part B coverage.