Starting at 65 years of age, most people are eligible for Medicare Part A coverage. To be eligible, a person must be a citizen of the U.S. or have been a legal resident for 5 consecutive years.
People below the age of 65 years may meet eligibility requirements based on their medical status.
Medicare Part A eligibility requirements for people under 65 years of age include those collecting Social Security Insurance (SSI) or Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) for 24 months due to a disability.
There are also special rules for people under 65 years of age who have either end-stage renal disease (ESRD) or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). People with ALS can receive Medicare Part A the first month after qualifying for SSI benefits.
The rules for people with ESRD are more complicated. The waiting period varies according to how long they have been on dialysis, with eligibility beginning after the third month following dialysis. However, if a person has completed self-dialysis training, eligibility starts during the first month.
Coverage will also kick in during the month of a kidney transplant or earlier if a person requires hospitalization 2 months before a kidney transplant to prepare for the procedure.