To be eligible for Medicare, patients must be citizens of the United States or have been permanently resident for at least five years, according to AARP. The general age requirement is 65 years and above, but there are other ways of qualifying for those under 65 years.
Those who are 65 years and above and their spouses qualify if they are eligible for Social Security or railroad retirement benefits. They should have 40 credits gained out of 10 years of service. They or their spouses can also be government employees or retirees that have never contributed into social security but paid Medicare enrollment during time in service, explains AARP. Those qualifying on a spouse's work record must be at least 62 years old and the spouse must be 65 years and above. People in same-sex marriage are eligible if they live in the state where they wedded or in another state that recognizes such marital institutions.
People under 65 years are eligible if they are disabled and have consistently received social security benefits for at least two years, states eHealth. They can also be beneficiaries of the Railroad Retirement Board disability pension. People with diseases such as Lou Gehrig's disease qualify directly, while those with conditions such as permanent kidney failure and need dialysis regularly or transplant qualify if their spouses or they are enrolled in the social security fund for a given period, states AARP.