Does Medicare Cover Your Spouse?

Does Medicare Cover Your Spouse? Although group insurance policies through your employer typically offer options for family coverage, you may be wondering whether Medicare offers spousal coverage. While managing a policy may be easier when everyone in the family can be included in one policy, Medicare coverage is individual coverage. If you and your spouse both qualify for Medicare, you would need to enroll as an individual.

Medicare Benefits Solutions

Aug 26, 2021

 3 minutes read

When it comes to spousal coverage, Medicare insurance plans only cover the individual listed on the plan. This means that you are not able to share benefits with your spouse, other family members or anyone who is not on the plan. Each plan is designed for individual coverage. If your spouse would like to take part in Medicare, they will need to meet the eligibility requirements on their own and obtain an individual plan.

Before discussing Medicare and spousal coverage, however, it’s first important to understand the qualifications necessary to enroll in Medicare. The Medicare program was initially designed to assist seniors and retirees in obtaining insurance coverage for medical expenses. Today, the program covers these individuals, but it also includes eligibility for certain Americans with qualifying disabilities under the age of 65.

Medicare’s eligibility requirements

In order to be eligible for Medicare coverage in 2021, you must be at least 65 years old or be qualified to receive Social Security Disability or Railroad Retirement Board benefits. If you’re enrolling in Medicare due to age, you may enroll in Medicare beginning three months before the month of your 65th birthday, the month of your 65th birthday, or within the three months following your 65th birthday. This is referred to as the initial enrollment period.

Can you pass along benefits upon death?

Some traditional insurance products offer the ability to continue benefits for family members listed on the policy following the policy holder’s death. Medicare insurance does not provide an option for this. Because each plan applies only to the individual to whom the plan was issued, benefits can’t be passed on to others upon death or for any other reason.

Can you share medical devices or prescriptions with others?

Although you can’t share coverage, some Medicare recipients feel inclined to seek out care and share their medical devices and prescriptions with others. Doing this may be a criminal offense, and it may also result in serious fines and penalties if you are caught. As such, you should never share items obtained through Medicare coverage with others. Beyond the potential for criminal and civil penalties, you could be jeopardizing someone else’s health by providing prescribed medications and devices to someone who has not obtained a prescription.

How can my spouse obtain coverage?

Because Medicare benefits can’t be shared between spouses, each individual in a marriage will need to obtain their own plan. If your spouse has met all of the eligibility requirements for Medicare, they will need to reach out to Medicare online or at a local office to enroll. Additionally, your spouse can work with an insurance broker to discuss their individual needs to find a plan that works.

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