Is Medicare Free – When enrolling in Medicare, the first question many people ask is, “Is Medicare free?” The answer is both yes and no, depending on which part of Medicare we’re discussing. Today, we’ll look at costs for each part so you can start budgeting for your transition into Medicare.
Cost of Medicare Part A
Part A is hospital insurance. For most people, Medicare Part A is premium-free. As long as you or your spouse paid Medicare taxes for 40 quarters (ten years), then you get to enjoy premium-free Part A. If you have not met that requirement, you will pay a monthly premium, which is determined by how much of the requirement you have fulfilled. Below are the premiums for 2022.
- Between 30 and 39 quarters = $274 per month
- Less than 30 quarters = $499 per month
Now, even if you enjoy premium-free Part A, understand that there are still other costs associated with the care you receive. Part A has a benefit period deductible of $1,556 and coinsurance costs based on how many days you remained an inpatient in either a hospital or skilled nursing facility.
Cost of Medicare Part B
Part B is medical insurance. This year, the standard premium most beneficiaries pay is $170.10. However, if you earn a higher income, you could pay more. An Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA) is added to your premium if you earn more than a set amount. There are several thresholds for this, so high-income individuals or couples could face anywhere between an additional $68 to an additional $408.20. Again, keep in mind that all these numbers typically increase annually.
Like Part A, there is also a deductible and coinsurance costs for Part B. This year, the annual deductible is $233. After that, you can expect your coinsurance responsibility to be approximately 20% for covered services.
Some people receive financial assistance that helps pay some or all of the Part B premium. These programs include Medicaid, Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs), and PACE (Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly). In addition, some Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans offer a Part B premium reduction that will reduce your monthly premium. However, those plans are not available everywhere.
Cost of Medicare Part C
Ready for some better news? Most of the country has access to premium-free Part C (Medicare Advantage) plans. However, even those who don’t can find plans for low premiums. Currently, the national average for a Part C plan is $33 per month.
Medicare Advantage plans take the place of Traditional Medicare (Parts A and B). However, enrollees must still pay the Part B premium. And, of course, other out-of-pocket costs. Because private insurance companies sell Part C plans, each plan is different. In addition, there are several types of Part C plans. It’s important to understand how Medicare Advantage plans work before enrolling.
Cost of Medicare Part D
Medicare Part D includes prescription drug plans. Premiums for Part D plans depend on which of the plans you choose. Generally speaking, the more medications you take (the more coverage you need), the more expensive your plan is. In 2022, the national average for Part D plans is $42 per month. If you are taking little to no medication, your premium may be as low as a few dollars.
If you pay IRMAA for Part B, you will also pay an adjusted amount for Part D. Based on your income, you could pay anywhere between an extra $12.40 and an extra $77.90 per month. On the other hand, individuals with lower incomes can apply for Extra Help, the federal program that offers financial assistance for Part D premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance amounts.
Cost of Medicare Supplement Plans
Medicare Supplements cost more than Medicare Advantage plans. (You can only have one or the other, never both.) The national average for a Medicare Supplement is $163 per month, but your cost will depend on a variety of factors.
First, it will depend on which plan you choose. There are about ten different Medicare Supplements (Medigap plans). Second, your premium will be based on your gender, age, zip code, tobacco status, and if you are eligible for any discounts. The most popular are Plans F, G, and N. Below is a range of premiums you can expect for these three plans.
- Plan F: $160 – $410
- Plan G: $120 – $360
- Plan N: $100 – $300
The nice thing about Medicare Supplements is that you will have fewer out-of-pocket costs than you will with most Medicare Advantage plans.
If you have more questions about the cost of Medicare or about how Medicare works, our advisors are happy to help. We will find the plans you need, shop for competitive rates, and ensure your transition into Medicare is as easy as possible. Call us today to speak with one of our licensed agents.