Do you have to pay for Medicare?
- Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) is free for most people.
- Medicare Part B (medical insurance) is based on your annual income.
- Medicare Part C (private health plan) is the same as Part B + the insurance carrier’s additional premium amount (often $0).
- Medicare Part D (prescription drug plan) start at about $20 per month, but may have a higher premium for higher income earners.
Medicare Premium Basics
Medicare hospital insurance (Part A) is free to most beneficiaries. Premiums for Medicare’s medical insurance (Part B) and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (Part D) depend on a beneficiary’s income. Beneficiaries with a higher income pay a higher premium; however, this affects less than 5 percent of Medicare beneficiaries. Beneficiaries with incomes above $85,000 per year (for a single person) and above $170,000 per year (for a married couple) pay higher Part B premiums.
To determine if a beneficiary will pay a higher premium, the Social Security Administration looks at a beneficiary’s most recent federal tax information. If a beneficiary has to pay a higher premium, the adjustment will be based on a sliding scale that is based on the Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI), which is a beneficiary’s total adjusted gross income and tax-exempt interest income.
Medicare pays 75 percent of each beneficiary’s Part B premium, while beneficiaries are responsible for 25 percent. The standard Part B premium adjusts each January. The premium is higher for individuals with incomes above $85,000 per year and for married couples with incomes above $170,000 per year. A breakdown of premiums by income is available here.
- Do Medicare Part B Medical Insurance Premiums Change From Year to Year?
- How Can Beneficiaries Appeal Medicare Income Decisions?