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Q: I’m 65, Married and Already Have Medicare: Is There Medicare Spouse Coverage?

Hal Levy September 29, 2017

Medicare Spouse Coverage Doesn’t Exist: Your Medicare coverage will not extend to your spouse, or any other family member. Whether you opt for Original Medicare (Parts A & B) or Medicare Advantage (private Part C coverage), your coverage won’t apply to anyone but you.

Medicare isn’t just an insurance program – it’s a benefit that you earned by contributing taxes over many years. Medicare only serves individuals who qualify. It’s not possible to extend your coverage to other people.

Your spouse should apply for Medicare if they’re eligible to do so. If they’re not yet eligible to apply, they’ll need to seek out health insurance on their own. It’s inadvisable to remain on private or employer-based insurance for the purpose of keeping your spouse covered until your spouse does become eligible for Medicare, since you’d be subject to a large penalty for not enrolling in Medicare in time.

Gaining Medicare Eligibility from a Working Spouse: If you’ve only lived in the U.S. for a few years, or have worked for less than 10 years, then you may not be eligible for Medicare on your own. In some cases, you may gain Medicare eligibility, including premium-free Medicare Part A, based on your spouse’s work history – even if you wouldn’t have otherwise qualified for Medicare.

If you’re married, divorced, or widowed from someone who did work for over 10 years to become eligible for Medicare, then you’ll probably be eligible to enroll in Medicare using your partner’s work history. You’ll want to apply at your local Social Security office to sort out the details.

Taking the Next Steps

Are you and your spouse looking to cover more of your Medicare-related expenses? Consider getting a Medicare Supplement plan. Search our database of Medicare Supplement plans to find the right plan for each of you.

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