Medicare if you are disabled

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Updated: 4/13/2007 3:37 pm
In general, Medicare is designed as a national health insurance program for those 65 and older. However, if you are disabled, you may qualify for Medicare before that age. After a person has received disability benefits for two years, they are automatically enrolled in Medicare. There are two parts to Medicare: the first is hospital insurance, which helps cover a portion of your hospital bills and some other services. This part of Medicare is free, because it's financed by the FICA taxes you paid while working. The other part of Medicare is medical insurance; it's used to pay doctors' bills and other health care. If you elect to take this part of Medicare, you have to pay a monthly premium. In some cases, disabled widows and widowers under age 65 may also be eligible for Medicare, based on their spouse's work record. If you receive a disability annuity from the railroad retirement board, special rules may apply; check with your local railroad retirement office for details. To find out more about Medicare benefits for disabled persons, contact the social security office, at 1-800-772-1213.

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