Most people become eligible for premium-free Part A Medicare coverage through their own work history or their spouse’s work history. Generally you are eligible for premium-free Part A coverage if you or your spouse worked and paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years or 40 quarters. Even if you get a divorce, you may have options for obtaining Medicare benefits depending on your personal situation and that of your ex-spouse. Here’s what you need to know.

How do I qualify for Medicare on my ex-spouse’s employment record after a divorce?

According to the Social Security Administration, in order to qualify for Medicare using your ex-spouse’s employment history after a divorce, you must meet the following conditions:

  • Your marriage must have lasted at least 10 years or longer.
  • You must be currently unmarried.
  • You have reached the age of 62.
  • Your ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security Retirement or disability benefits.
  • The benefit you would receive based on your own work is less than the benefit you would receive based on your ex-spouse’s work

If all of those conditions apply, you may be entitled to premium-free Part A and Part B coverage with the same premium that all enrollees must pay for Part B coverage.

If neither you nor your ex-spouse meet the eligibility requirements for Medicare, you may still be able to purchase Part A after paying the applicable premium.

Keep in mind that if you do not enroll in Medicare when you first become eligible, you may have to pay a higher premium for a certain period of time (Part A) or for as long as you have coverage (Part B).

Can I get Medicare Advantage or Part D coverage for prescription drugs after a divorce?

Anyone who is eligible for Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) may enroll in Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage or Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) as long as they live in an area serviced by the plan.

Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private insurance companies approved by Medicare to provide benefits under the Medicare program; they are an alternate way to get your Medicare benefits. By law, Medicare Advantage plans must provide all the same coverage as Original Medicare (except for hospice care, which is still covered under Part A), but they are able to offer additional benefits to their members. Many Medicare Advantage plans include Part D coverage for prescription drugs and coverage for routine dental and vision care.

It’s important to remember that not every plan type and benefit option may be available in all locations. You must also continue to pay your Medicare Part B premium plus any other monthly premium required by your plan for as long as you are enrolled.

Want to know more about Medicare eligibility after a divorce and what options are available? You can find out about plan options in your area by entering your zip code on this page.