When you turn 65, you become eligible for Medicare if you:
- Collect or qualify to collect Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits
- You are a current US resident and either
- A US citizen or
- A permanent US resident having lived in the US for 5 continuous years before you apply for Medicare
How you enroll at age 65 depends on whether or not you are already receiving Social Security retirement benefits or Railroad Retirement benefits.
How much you have to pay for your Medicare coverage depends on your work history (if and how long you have paid Medicare taxes). Everyone has to pay a monthly premium for their medical insurance (Part B). Most people with Medicare get their hospital insurance (Part A) premium-free.