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If I Retire at Age 62, Will I Be Eligible for Medicare at That Time?

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No, but in some cases, when one spouse turns 62, the other spouse may qualify for premium-free Medicare Part A even if he or she hasn’t worked.

Medicare benefits start once you reach the age of 65 (unless you qualify by disability). You’re automatically enrolled at age 65 if you’re already receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits.

If you’ve worked at least 10 years (40 quarters) while paying Medicare taxes, there is no monthly premium for your Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) benefits. But if you haven’t worked, or worked less than 10 years, you may qualify for premium-free Part A when your spouse turns 62, if she or he has worked at least 10 years while paying Medicare taxes. However, to be eligible for Medicare, you need to be 65 years old. You also need to be an American citizen or legal permanent resident of at least five continuous years.

So, to summarize with an example:

  • Bob is 65 years old. He’s on Medicare, but he pays a monthly premium for his Medicare Part A benefits. He only worked for seven years and no longer works.
  • His wife, Mary, has worked for over 30 years.
  • Mary turns 62. Now, Bob no longer has to pay a Medicare Part A monthly premium.
  • Mary still has to wait until age 65 to be eligible for Medicare (unless she qualifies by disability).

If you retire at age 62, you may be able to continue to get medical insurance coverage through your employer, or you can purchase coverage from a private insurance company until you turn 65. While waiting for Medicare enrollment eligibility, you may contact your State Health Insurance Assistance Program to discuss your options.

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