Medicare costs for divorced spouses who never worked

Melissa – California: I am a financial planner and have a divorced female client who has never worked long enough to qualify for Social Security benefits. Because of this, I’m concerned that she also won’t be eligible for Medicare. If she did sign up, wouldn’t Medicare ask her to pay something more than $470 a month?

Phil Moeller: That $470 figure is not for all of Medicare but just for the cost of Part A hospital insurance premiums. Part A charges no premiums for people who qualify for Social Security. While your client does not qualify for premium-free Part A on her own earnings record, she would qualify on her ex-husband’s record if she also qualifies for Social Security divorce benefits. This means they were married for at least 10 years, she is at least 62, and she is unmarried. Her ex-husband does not have had to actually file for benefits to establish her eligibility for premium-free Part A, but he must be at least 62.