Can you collect Social Security without Medicare?

Yes, it is possible to collect Social Security benefits without enrolling in Medicare. You can start collecting Social Security benefits as early as age 62, but the amount you receive will be reduced compared to what you would receive if you waited until your full retirement age (usually between 66 and 67, depending on your birth year). Waiting until after your full retirement age can result in increased monthly benefits up until age 70.

However, once you are eligible for Medicare, usually at age 65, there are penalties for delaying enrollment unless you have other qualified health coverage. For example, there are late enrollment penalties for Medicare Part B (medical insurance) and Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage) if you don’t enroll when you’re first eligible and don’t have other creditable coverage. These penalties generally result in higher premiums for as long as you have Medicare.

 

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Is anyone eligible for Medicare?

Not everyone is automatically eligible for Medicare. The program is primarily available to individuals age 65 and older and certain younger individuals with disabilities. However, eligibility requirements can vary based on specific circumstances, and there are different parts of Medicare that cover different services.

There are some groups who may not be eligible for Medicare. This includes:

  • Individuals who have not worked enough to qualify for Social Security benefits.
  • Certain non-citizens who haven’t met residency requirements.
  • Individuals under 65 who do not have a qualifying disability or medical condition.
  • People who do not meet the eligibility requirements for specific parts of Medicare, such as Part A or Part B, based on their work history or other factors.

Overall, eligibility for Medicare depends on various factors, including age, disability status, citizenship and work history.