Are Green Card Holders Eligible for Medicare?

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Are Green Card Holders Eligible for Medicare?

What are the requirements before a Green Card holder is eligible for Medicare enrollment?

Green Card Holders-1First and foremost, like all Medicare beneficiaries, Green Card holders must be 65 years old or older. They also must have lived in the United States for at least five consecutive years before applying for Medicare benefits. Undocumented immigrants are not eligible for Medicare.

Green Card holders don’t necessarily need to have lived in the United States immediately prior to applying for Medicare, but it must be five years of continuous residence in the US at some point during their work history. Usually the 5-year period of U.S. residency begins on the day the immigrant arrives in the U.S. with a green card and the intent to establish a permanent home. But again, the residency must be continuous, so trips to the United States for vacations or other reasons would not count towards the 5-year requirement.

As for work history, Green Card holders will need to have worked a minimum of 40 quarters (10 years) in the United States and have paid Medicare taxes for all of those 10 years.

In some instances, someone who has not met the minimum work requirements may still successfully apply for Medicare. It varies from case to case, however most of the time that person would likely have to pay a premium for Part A Medicare coverage (hospital care), whereas for most beneficiaries there is no premium for Part A. They might also pay higher premiums for Part B (medical care) or Part D (prescription drug coverage) than those who meet the work requirement.

In 2024, Medicare Part A premiums are estimated to cost as much as $505 per month. The standard Medicare Part B premium is $174.70 per month for 2024. According to research firm KFF, the estimated average enrollment-weighted monthly premium for Medicare Part D stand-alone drug plans is projected to be $48 in 2024, based on current enrollment, up 21% from $40 in 2023.

In addition, the applicant’s spouse work history might be considered as counting towards the overall 40 quarters minimum. To be sure, speak to a representative at Medicare, or one of Insurance Professionals of Arizona Medicare experts to get a full rundown of your options once they assess your situation.

How Green Card holders can apply for Medicare

Green Card Holders-2Eligible Green Card holders apply for Medicare just as any US citizen does, through either the Social Security Administration or Medicare. Usually through the initial enrollment period, which begins three months before their 65th birthday, includes their birth month, and ends three months after their birth month.

If they miss the initial enrollment period they may still sign up at a later date, but will likely have to pay a penalty unless they qualify for a special enrollment period due to extraordinary circumstances such as injury or loss of previous health coverage. The penalty for Part B is an additional 10% of the standard premium for each 12-month period that they were eligible but did not enroll. Green Card holders may also apply for a Medicare Advantage plan should they wish during their Initial Enrollment Period.

If you are a Green Card holder and are approaching your 65th birthday, or have missed the initial Medicare enrollment period but still wish to enroll, please give one of our Medicare agents a call today. We at Insurance Professionals of Arizona have helped countless immigrants get the Medicare coverage they deserve, and have earned.

We’re here to help! Call us today.

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