Medicare is an insurance program administered and by the United States Federal government, which provides various forms of health care coverage to individuals at or over the age of 65, or who meet other criteria, such as permanent verified disability and the receipt of Social Security Benefits, or having a small number of chronic health conditions such as dialysis-dependent end stage kidney disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease).
Unlike many private health insurers, Medicare coverage does not discriminate or reject applicants on the basis of previous or existing medical conditions, and disclosure of these conditions is not a required part of application. Whether an individual is currently insured or otherwise for any conditions, also does not affect their ability to enroll in Medicare. In general, all United States citizens and permanent residents who have been in the US for over five years, are eligible for Medicare with no other exclusion criteria. Moreover, for individuals who have worked and paid taxes for ten years in states, the premiums for Medicare “part A,” which covers hospital insurance, are waived, making this part of Medicare free. Other parts of Medicare, such as “part D,” prescription drug benefits, require a premium for all members who wish to enroll for these services.
Although previous or existing health issues and medical problems do not influence an individual’s eligibility for Medicare or their premium rate, neither Medicare part A nor part B (medical insurance) alone will cover all of an individual’s medical expenses. It is therefore important for people shopping for other health insurance to supplement Medicare, to find out whether previous health issues or medical conditions affect their eligibility for this type of non-medicare insurance, and the associated premiums.