What Are Rules Regarding Spending Down to Qualify for Medicare?


Quick Answer

There is no need to spend down to qualify for Medicare, because eligibility for Medicare is not based on income, reports the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Eligibility for Medicare is based on U.S. citizenship or residency and having enough quarters of coverage compiled during working years.

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Full Answer

Those qualifying for Medicare must be residents of the United States and either citizens or resident aliens who have lived in the United States for at least five years, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Eligibility for Medicare is limited to the aged, the disabled or people who have end-stage renal disease. Individuals whose accumulated quarters of coverage make them eligible for Social Security benefits or railroad retirement benefits can enroll in Medicare Parts A and B at age 65, states Medicare. Many are enrolled automatically, while others have to sign up.

For most people Medicare Part A is free, but for all eligible applicants, Medicare Part B is optional and requires the payment of a monthly premium, as reported by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Applicants who meet U.S. residency requirements but do not have enough work quarters of coverage to qualify for a free Part A plan can pay a monthly premium for it. People are initially eligible for enrollment in Medicare for a period of three months before and after their 65th birthday, states Medicare. If they do not enroll in Part B at this time, coverage is delayed, and premiums become more expensive.

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