I currently have Medicare, and am only 27. If memory serves, this is the way it went...
I applied for my state's MedicAID program originally. I was approved, and able to start my Remicade within 3-4 months of beginning the application process. The treatment I received BEFORE the Medicaid approval was retroactively paid for by Medicaid, so the gap in time waiting for approval wasn't really a big deal.
This is where it gets sketchy though, because I was so sick at that time. I really don't remember if I initiated the application for Social Security Disability on my own, or if my Medicaid Social Worker initiated it for me? All I know is that I started receiving Social Security Disability Insurance checks approximately 4 months after being approved for the MedicAID. And, once I was officially "Disabled" in the eyes of Social Security, it took 2 years before they offered me Medicare.
The people that answer the phones at Medicare are kind of a joke, in my experience. They have a tough job, though - I would imagine. Anyway, I would highly recommend looking over the Social Services webpages for your state to obtain info on your state's program. I don't know if it is required that you be officially "disabled" for two years before you're approved for Medicare or not, but I'm sure that could also be found on their website. The social security administration has a fairly thorough webpage... maybe with enough digging you could find more answers?
I wish I had better details or specifics, but it's such a long journey of paperwork! I have never been interviewed, or had to appear at a hearing, or anything of that sort. All of my approvals came from handwritten answers on questionaires and the support of my doctors. The paperwork will all ask questions regarding your "current" situation. Make sure that you take a LONG time explaining in the extra space provided what your life is like when you DON'T get your Remicade. Just because the forms aren't tailored to your situation doesn't mean that you can't explain fully and clearly the consequences (physical, emotional and monetary) if you were to go without your needed medicines. You sound like you're doing well on the Remicade and want to stay well on the Remicade, so you just have to make it clear that it's better (and CHEAPER!) for everyone concerned if they approve you and allow you to continue your current regimine without being interrupted by a loss of insurance.
I hope there's a nugget in there somewhere that helps!
27f, dx'd CD July '05 after 6 fistula/abscess surgeries
Remicade '05 through '08, with no other maintenance meds
Noticing a real difference with a Gluten-Free diet.
Cimzia (started 2-12-09)
Probiotics, Digestive Enzymes, Forvia vitamins, and calcium chewies
Prednisone free, again! WHOOPIE!