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Americans who satisfy residency requirements are generally eligible for Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, at age 65, regardless of marital status. However, whether you have worked and paid Medicare taxes, and for how long, can affect whether you’re automatically enrolled in Medicare and whether you pay a premium for Medicare Part A. (To meet Medicare’s residency requirements, you need to be an American citizen or legal permanent resident of at least five continuous years.)
Generally, you don’t pay a monthly Medicare Part A premium if you’ve worked for 40 quarters (10 years) while paying Medicare taxes. You typically pay a monthly premium for Medicare Part B.
If you are at least age 62 and have worked for at least 10 years in Medicare-covered employment, your spouse can get Medicare, Part A premium-free when he or she is age 65 or older.
If you have worked at least 10 years in Medicare-covered employment but are not yet age 62 when your spouse turns age 65, he or she will not be eligible for premium-free Medicare Part A. In this case, your spouse can still enroll in Part A, but will have to pay a premium until you are age 62.
Some beneficiaries choose to delay enrollment in Medicare Part B, but if your spouse doesn’t enroll when first eligible for Medicare, he or she might pay a late-enrollment penalty. However, if you are still working and your spouse is covered under your group health plan, your spouse may be able to delay enrollment in Part B without a late-enrollment penalty. Check with your group health plan to see how it works with Medicare.
eHealth's Medicare website is operated by eHealthInsurance Services, Inc., a licensed health insurance agency doing business as eHealth. The purpose of this site is the solicitation of insurance. Contact may be made by an insurance agent/producer or insurance company. eHealth and Medicare supplement insurance plans are not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. government or the federal Medicare program. We offer plans from a number of insurance companies.