You may be eligible for Medicare long before you reach "retirement" age.
Medicare is available to certain populations prior to the age of 65 including people with certain disabilities including Parkinson's disease (if/when PD meets the Social Security Administration's criteria for disability). Although there are many healthcare programs offering more comprehensive coverage, Medicare is frequently the only realistic healthcare option for both of these groups.
Medicare is currently divided into four parts. Part A covers hospital bills, Part B covers doctor bills, Part C provides the option to choose from a package of healthcare plans and Part D offers prescription drug plans. There are many rules, regulations as well as various options associated with the different parts of the Medicare plan and these frequently make the enrollment process confusing.
Additionally, Medicare for those who are disabled does not begin until 29 months after the disability period officially begins (includes the five month waiting period prior to SSDI benefits and another 24 months post-SSDI benefits). For this reason, it is important that you retain some type of health insurance coverage during this transition period. In addition to group or individual disability insurance plans, employers are required to offer COBRA which can be extended in the case of disability so the individual is covered until Medicare benefits begin. The Disability and Medical Coverage Timelines may help you understand which options are available to you and when, from the time you are diagnosed until you become eligible for Medicare.
It is important to do your homework before you become eligible so that you have a clear understanding of which healthcare expenses will and will not be covered under Medicare.