Medicare at Age 62

You will not be eligible for Medicare at age 62 outside of a few rare circumstances, like if you have Lou Gehrig's disease, end-stage renal disease or you have been on Social Security disability insurance for two years. If you don't meet those requirements, you'll have to wait until 65 to be eligible for Medicare.

Can You Get Medicare at 62?

It’s not impossible to get Medicare at 62, but it is rare to qualify. The vast majority of Americans can’t enroll until they are 65. But you do have a chance if you meet one of a few rare circumstances.

Medicare Eligibility by Age
AgeRequirements
65Generally eligible in most circumstances
62 and UnderYou have ALS, end stage renal disease or have received Social Security disability insurance for two years.

Exceptions to Medicare Age Requirements

While you are typically not eligible for Medicare unless you are 65 and a U.S. citizen, there are some other ways that you can qualify.

If you have been receiving Social Security disability insurance for two years or more, you can be eligible for Medicare early.

You can also enroll if you have ALS or end-stage renal disease. In these circumstances, you are exempt from the requirement to have been on disability insurance for two years.

If you meet none of these requirements, you will have to wait until your standard eligibility period. According to AARP, your initial enrollment period will begin three months before the month of your 65th birthday.

Original Medicare is split into two parts, Part A and Part B. Unless you meet the above requirements, neither part is available to you early.

There is a third part, Part C, which is also known as Medicare Advantage. Private insurers provide Part C plans which offer expanded benefits and coverage like vision and dental.

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How Reaching Age 62 Can Affect Your Spouse’s Medicare

While you may not be eligible to enroll in Medicare when you turn 62, your age can have an impact on your spouse’s benefits.

If you are in the workforce and your spouse is not, then you turning 62 can give them access to the premium-free Part A of Original Medicare.

You may also be eligible to receive Social Security benefits but don’t have to start taking them. This is a requirement because if your spouse didn’t work, they are essentially reliant upon your work history for their eligibility.

Part A premiums can also be significant; in 2021, they can be as much as $471 a month.

To be eligible for the premium-free Part A when you turn 65 and can enroll in Medicare, you must have paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years and be eligible for or receive benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board.

You also could qualify for the premium-free Part A if you had Medicare-covered government employment.

Health Care Options Between Early Retirement and Medicare

If you plan to retire early, you’ll need to figure out a plan to pay for health care before you reach Medicare eligibility age. There are a few different options.

If your spouse is still in the workforce, you might be eligible to be covered under their employer’s health plan if it includes spouses.

You also could opt for COBRA coverage, which allows you to essentially continue using your former employer’s coverage in some circumstances for a limited amount of time. This option can be expensive since you will have to pay the full premium.

This arrangement may not be sustainable depending on how early you retire since COBRA coverage typically only lasts for 18 to 36 months.

Depending on your financial situation, you may be eligible for Medicaid. Eligibility varies by state, but this is typically an option if you have very little money or income. You also could opt to purchase a private insurance plan.

Last Modified: September 1, 2021

8 Cited Research Articles

  1. Bunis, D. (2021, January 1). Medicare Eligibility: Do You Qualify? Retrieved from https://www.aarp.org/health/medicare-insurance/info-04-2011/medicare-eligibility.html
  2. Social Security Administration. (2021). Medicare. Retrieved from https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10043.pdf
  3. AARP. (2020, December 24). Can I Enroll in Medicare if I Claim Social Security Retirement Benefits at 62? Retrieved from https://www.aarp.org/retirement/social-security/questions-answers/medicare-ss-62.html
  4. AARP. (n.d.). If I Retire at 62, Will I be Eligible for Medicare? Retrieved from https://www.aarp.org/health/medicare-qa-tool/eligible-for-medicare-at-age-62/
  5. AARP. (n.d.). Medicare Coverage for Non-Working Spouses. Retrieved from https://www.aarpmedicareplans.com/medicare-articles/medicare-coverage-for-non-working-spouses.html
  6. U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (n.d.). Part A costs. Retrieved from https://www.medicare.gov/your-medicare-costs/part-a-costs
  7. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2014, September 11). Who is eligible for Medicare? Retrieved from https://www.hhs.gov/answers/medicare-and-medicaid/who-is-elibible-for-medicare/index.html
  8. U.S. Department of Labor. (n.d.). Continuation of Health Coverage (COBRA). Retrieved from https://www.dol.gov/general/topic/health-plans/cobra