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When I qualify for Medicare, will Medicare cover my spouse and dependent children too?

Medicare does not provide any coverage for family members.  Every person must qualify for Medicare in his or her own right — whether at age 65 or at an earlier age based on disability.

Similarly, if more than one person in the family is entitled to Medicare, each person is responsible for his or her own premiums, deductibles and copays. This is true not only in the original Medicare program but also in Medicare Advantage plans and Part D prescription drug plans. There are no price breaks for married couples.

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You may be able to help family members become eligible for certain Medicare benefits. For example, if your spouse hasn’t earned enough work credits to qualify for Part A hospital benefits without paying premiums for them, he or she can qualify on your work record. (In some circumstances, your divorced spouse can also claim eligibility for these benefits based on your work record, without affecting your own benefits in any way.) Also, a younger person with end-stage renal disease (ESRD, kidney failure) can qualify for Medicare on the basis of a parent’s work record. But these are issues of eligibility, not coverage.

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