Social Security Disability Insurance & Medicare
After you receive disability benefits for 24 months, you will automatically be eligible for Medicare Part A and Part B. However, if you have permanent kidney failure requiring regular dialysis or a transplant or you have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease), you might qualify for Medicare almost immediately.
You will receive your red, white, and blue Medicare card on the 25th month of disability. If you don’t want Part B, follow the instructions that come with the card and send the card back. If you keep the card, you keep Part B and will pay Part B premiums.
Medicare is financed by a portion of the payroll taxes paid by workers and their employers. It also is financed in part by monthly premiums deducted from Social Security checks.
Medicare has four parts:
- Hospital Insurance – helps pay for in-patient care in a hospital or skilled nursing facility (following a hospital stay), some home health care and hospice care
- Medical Insurance – helps pay for doctors’ services and many other medical services and supplies that are not covered by hospital insurance
- Medicare Advantage – plans are available in many areas. People with Medicare Parts A and B can choose to receive all of their health care services through one of these provider organizations under Part C
- Prescription Drug Coverage – helps pay for medications that doctors prescribe for treatment
Medicare has been making changes to its program to help improve health care, including more free preventative services and lower prescription drug costs. Medicare now offers a yearly “Wellness” visit free of charge. This gives you the opportunity to meet with your doctor to review your health and discuss what you can do to stay as healthy as possible. Medicare also now covers screening and counseling for alcohol misuse, depression, and obesity.