Is my mom's ex husband eligible for Medicare if he's a legal alien?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 06, 2016
Kwk asked...

My Mom is a US citizen and currently has Medicare, is her divorced spouse eligible for Medicare if he is a legal alien but has not live in the US for 5 years? ( Other requirements are met: age>65, married over 10 years, divorced for more than 2 years, did not remarry)


Expert Answers

There are different answers -- for different parts of Medicare -- to your question about Medicare eligibility for your mother's former husband.

Regarding Medicare Part A hospital insurance, which covers inpatient hospital and skilled nursing facility care, as well as home health and hospice care, your mother's ex-husband (who's over age 65) may be eligible for free coverage if your mother is eligible for Social Security retirement or disability benefits (whether or not she is actually collecting those benefits). If she's eligible for Social Security retirement or disability benefits, the fact that she and her ex-husband were married for 10 years and have now been divorced for 2 years means that he would be eligible for Social Security dependents benefits based on your mother's work record. And if he is eligible for Social Security dependents benefits, then he is also eligible for free Medicare Part A coverage. And if he is eligible for Medicare Part A, he may also buy a Medicare Part D prescription drug insurance policy.

The situation is different for Medicare Part B medical insurance, which covers doctor bills and most other outpatient medical care. To be covered by Medicare Part B, his relationship to your mother does not matter. All that matters is that he is age 65 and a legal resident of the U.S. However, he cannot enroll in Medicare Part B until and unless he has been a legal resident of the United States for five consecutive years. Until that time, he cannot enroll in Medicare Part B. Also, until he is eligible for Medicare Part B, your mother's ex may not enroll in a Medicare Part C Medicare Advantage plan.