Medicare options if you’re disabled and under 65

Understand your coverage options

Even if you're under 65, you may still qualify for Medicare benefits. Most people assume you must be 65 to sign up for Medicare, but there are exceptions:1

  • If you're under age 65 and you’ve received disability benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board for at least 24 months, you’ll automatically get Medicare Part A and Part B.
  • If you're a disabled federal, state or local government employee who is not eligible for Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits, you may be eligible for Medicare 24 months after you qualify for disability.

Most people who’ve worked and paid taxes for a certain amount of time don’t have to pay a premium for Medicare Part A (hospital coverage).

With Part B, which covers things like doctor visits, lab tests and preventive services, most people have to pay a monthly premium. In 2024, the monthly Part B premium is $174.70 (or higher depending on your income).

If you’re disabled but still covered under your own or a qualified family member’s employer plan, you may want to keep that coverage and postpone enrolling in Medicare Part B to postpone paying the premium. Your Part B premium won't begin until your Part B benefits do.

Learn about coverage options for people with disabilities at

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  1. “Medicare,” Social Security Administration, last accessed August 10, 2023,, PDF.