The key to understanding the legal aspects of Medicare coverage is to understand the requirements set by statute in order to receive Medicare payments. You must be 65 years old and eligible under the Social Security rules. However, you may also be eligible to receive Medicare if you are under 65, if you are entitled to Social Security and you are disabled for 24 months. You may also receive Medicare if you are suffering from end-stage renal disease.
It is important to know that you are not entitled to Medicare at age 62, (unless you qualify under the disabled or disease exceptions) even if you elect to receive Social Security payments earlier. It is also important to note that there are no financial requirements associated with Medicare. As we will see in the section on Medicaid, that program has both broader coverage than Medicare and strict financial requirements.
Sample Legal Illustration
John Doe's father recently applied for Medicare when he turned 65, even though one of his friends told him that his $200,000 life savings would not allow him to receive Medicare, until he first spent his own $200,000. After seeking legal advice, before deciding to take his friend's advice, his father was told by his lawyer that this was not true and that Medicare would not require him to spend his life savings first. The general rule is that all eligible 65 year olds can receive Medicare, regardless of their financial situation.