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Info for People with ALS

ALS/Lou Gehrig's Disease is a disease that affects the motor nerve cells of the spinal cord and causes their degeneration. Because of the rapid course of the disease, people with ALS may get Medicare earlier than other people with disabilities.

This section explains how Medicare enrollment works for people with ALS. It also explains how Medicare covers specific services for people with the disease.

Medicare Enrollment & Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS)

The 24-month “waiting period” for someone to receive Medicare after getting Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) does not apply to  people with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or what is often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease or ALS.

If you are diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, you will receive SSDI benefits 6 months after being found disabled by Social Security. And, your Medicare benefits will also start at this time.

You do not have to do anything to enroll in Medicare. You will automatically be enrolled. Your Medicare card should arrive usually around the 4th month that you get disability benefits. If it does not come by the 5th month, contact Social Security at 1-800-772-1213, or visit them online. Your Medicare benefits begin the 6th month you get SSDI.

Selecting a Part D drug plan

Once you are enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B, you should review the other options such as getting Part D prescription drug coverage.If you have trouble affording your medicine, there are programs that may be able to help you with the costs.

Get personal help with reviewing your options.

Learn more about the SSDI program from Social Security.

Will Medicare cover home health care for ALS?

Medicare covers home health care services only under specific conditions. A doctor must certify that you need occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, or intermittent skilled nursing care.

Many people with ALS have a need for one or more of these types of therapies. If you do, you may be able to get some care at home. For more information, consult the official Medicare and Home Health Care Guide.

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