Yes, they do. If you are approved for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, you are automatically enrolled in Medicare once you have been found qualified for SSD benefits for a period of two years. The SSA will determine what date you became disabled, so this wait can vary, depending upon how long it has been since the date of onset (of your disability) is determined.
With that said, there are two parts to Medicare that you are enrolled in, once the two years has passed. The first is called Part A. This is essentially hospital coverage. It helps pay for in-patient hospital bills and post-hospital care. This coverage is free. The second part is called Part B. It is the basic medical insurance coverage for things like doctor visits and other medical services. Unlike Part A, this coverage is only available if you pay a premium for it. So, it’s optional.
Note: You may have also heard of other optional Medicare supplements such as Part C (Medicare Advantage) and Part D (Prescription Drug Coverage). Concerning Part C, there are a myriad of separate plans available through private companies if a person wishes to add this coverage. Part D is a little different in that you can enroll for this added supplement during the SSA’s Medicare Part D open enrollment periods. For more on all of this, visit www.medicare.gov.
Now, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a different ballgame altogether. Recall that SSI is a need based benefit for those who have very limited income and assets and who did not pay enough into the system to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. As such, these folks do not get Medicare coverage along with their SSI benefit. Instead, they can utilize Medicaid benefits. Most of the people who qualify for SSI are already utilizing Medicaid benefits, therefore nothing significant changes concerning their medical coverage. Visit www.medicaid.gov for more information concerning Medicaid benefits.