How much does Medicare cost?
Learning how much Medicare costs is the first step when making Medicare work within your personal budget. That means knowing the parts of Medicare — what they cover and what you pay.
What is Medicare Part A and what does it cost?
Medicare Part A essentially provides hospitalization coverage, such as hospital stays, hospice care and even some home health care.
If you or your spouse worked and paid Medicare taxes, you will probably receive Medicare Part A premium-free. Otherwise your Part A premium is determined by your annual income.
There is also a Medicare Part A yearly deductible that applies to your inpatient care. This cost can vary from year to year.
What is Medicare Part B and what does it cost?
Medicare Part B provides coverage for outpatient medical care separate from hospitalization. This includes doctor visits, preventive care, X-rays, medical tests and screenings, medical supplies, vaccinations and other outpatient medical needs.
Your Medicare Part B premium is also based on your income. Much like Part A, deductibles change from year to year and can also vary based on your location. The good news is once you meet your deductible, you only pay 20% for most Medicare Part B services during the year.
You can visit Medicare.gov's income chart to find out what your monthly premium for Part B would be.
What do Medicare Advantage plans (Part C) cost?
Medicare Advantage plans offer the same coverage as Parts A and B as well as other benefits Original Medicare doesn't cover. You also get more flexibility when choosing your plan coverage because these Medicare plans come from Medicare-approved private health insurers.
Many Medicare Part C plans include:
- Prescription drug coverage like Medicare Part D
- Routine dental care including X-rays, exams and dentures
- Vision care including glasses and contacts
- Hearing care including testing and hearing aids
- Wellness programs and fitness center memberships
Your premium, deductible and cost-sharing for Medicare Advantage plans vary based on the plan. You can compare your Medicare Advantage plans to help you find the perfect fit for your budget and health care needs.
What about Medicare Part D costs?
You can sign up for Medicare Part D if you want to add prescription drug coverage to your Original Medicare (Part A and Part B). Original Medicare does not cover prescription medicine, so if you have a health condition that requires regular prescriptions or you just want coverage for occasional medications, it's a good idea to review your costs with Parts A, B and D combined.
Comparing the costs of Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage
In many cases, it may be cheaper for you to get an all-in-one Medicare Advantage plan that includes Part A, Part B and Part D, and dental, vision and hearing.
If you only need Original Medicare Parts A and B, you can review your potential costs at Medicare.gov.
If you only need prescription drug coverage:
Compare Part D plans and what drugs they cover. You can search your prescriptions to see if they're covered and how much they might cost under a specific plan.
If you need Part A, Part B and Part D, and also need dental, vision and/or hearing coverage:
Compare Medicare Advantage plans in your area.
If you think you cannot afford any health insurance plan
Medicare.gov offers Medicare Savings Programs (MSP) and Extra Help. Visit MSP to see if you qualify.
Do your research and know the costs of Medicare so you can make the smartest choice for your health care and your budget.