Medicare is a federal insurance program that pays for medical care for people who qualify. People who have been determined to be disabled and have been receiving disability benefits for at least 24 months qualify for Medicare. People with lupus who need long term dialysis treatment for chronic kidney disease or require a kidney transplant will qualify for Medicare immediately after they are determined to be disabled. In general, Medicare pays 80 percent of reasonable charges.
Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) helps cover inpatient care in hospitals, including critical access hospitals, and skilled nursing facilities (not custodial or long-term care). Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) helps cover doctors' services and outpatient care. Medicare Part C combines hospital and doctor coverage and is provided by private insurers. Medicare Part D provides prescription drug insurance. Private companies also provide the coverage. Beneficiaries choose the drug plan and pay a monthly premium.
How to apply
If you are receiving Social Security Disability, you must wait 24 months from the time you are declared disabled before you can apply for Medicare, unless you have end stage renal disease which makes you eligible immediately. For non-disabled people, you become eligible for Medicare when you reach the age of retirement. Call 1-800-MEDICARE or visit www.medicare.gov for information. However, if you want to apply for Medicare coverage only (e.g., you are working and do not intend to file for monthly retirement or spouse's benefits at this time), you should call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) toll-free to arrange an appointment over the phone or in person at a Social Security office.