Nonworking spouses are eligible for Medicare based on a spouse's work record if the working spouse has 10 years or more of Medicare-covered employment, reports Medicare.gov. For a spouse to receive premium-free Medicare Part A, the working spouse must be at least 62 when the nonworking spouse enrolls in Medicare.
If the working spouse is less than 62 years old when the nonworking spouse turns 65, the nonworking spouse can enroll in Medicare Part B at minimum premium and either pay a premium for Part A or wait until the working spouse is 62 to enroll in Part A premium-free, according to Medicare.gov. Although Medicare Part A is premium-free for eligible spouses, Part B premiums are based on the combined incomes of both spouses, reports WebMD. Each spouse has a separate plan and must enroll in Medicare individually when they become eligible for Medicare at age 65.
Spouses may become eligible for Medicare before age 65 if they have a disability and have been receiving benefits for more than 24 months, if they have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, or if they have end-stage renal disease, states Medicare.gov. For a nonworking spouse to receive Medicare for these conditions, it is still necessary for the working spouse to have the required number of work credits for eligibility.