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You’re eligible for Medicare when you reach age 65 or meet other requirements.

To receive Medicare at 65, you or your spouse must have earned enough credits to be eligible for Social Security. As of 2015, you need 40 credits -- each $1,220 earned equals one credit -- with a maximum of four credits per year. If you paid into a retirement program that did not withhold Social Security or Medicare premiums, you’re probably still eligible through your retirement system or a spouse’s.

If you work beyond 65, you may be able to keep your company’s health insurance policy, or it might force you to make Medicare your primary insurance.

Spouses can receive Medicare at 65 based on their better-half’s work record. Former spouses that don’t qualify for Medicare on their own may qualify based on their ex’s as long as the marriage lasted 10 years and they’re currently single. Same-sex couples may qualify for spousal benefits depending on the state in which they reside, or if they are federal government employees.

People younger than 65 with a qualifying disability may be eligible for Medicare, as well. There are exceptions, but most people must first receive Social Security disability insurance for 24 months before qualifying for Medicare.

You can work and receive Medicare disability benefits for a transition period under Social Security’s work incentives and Ticket to Work programs.

There’s a lot to consider with Medicare, and consulting with an expert is never a bad idea. Medicare.gov’s eligibility and premium calculator will tell you if you’re eligible for benefits and provide an estimate of your monthly premium.

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