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Is Medicare Free?

Summary: Medicare is not free. Each part of Medicare has its own costs. However, you may be eligible to receive some parts of medicare for a $0 monthly premium based on your history working in the U.S. and paying Medicare taxes.  Estimated Read Time: 4 min

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Table of Contents:

  1. Is Medicare Part A Free?
  2. Is Medicare Part B Free?
  3. Why Are Some Medicare Advantage Plans Free?
  4. Is Medicare Part D Free?
  5. Are Medicare Supplement Plans Free?
  6. How to Get Medicare Free

When you become eligible for Medicare, there are a few associated costs you will be responsible for in order to receive full benefits. Some people are under the impression their payroll taxes will ultimately pay for Medicare costs in full. However, this is not entirely true. If Medicare is in your near future, here’s what you need to know to prepare for the cost of Medicare.

Is Medicare Part A Free?

A portion of the payroll taxes you pay throughout your working career are set aside in a trust fund to help pay for Medicare Part A. If you or a spouse contribute to Medicare taxes for a minimum of 40 quarters (10 years) in the U.S., then your Medicare Part A benefits will have a $0 monthly premium.

Beneficiaries who contribute 30-39 quarters will have a monthly premium of $278. Those with fewer than 30 quarters of contributions would pay the full premium, which is $505 in 2024.

While the premium for Part A may be $0 in some cases, you are still responsible for deductibles, copayments and coinsurance when receiving care.

Is Medicare Part B Free?

Medicare Part B is not free. Most Medicare Part B enrollees have a standard monthly premium that can change from year to year. For 2024, the standard monthly premium is $174.70, up from $164.90 in 2023.

Premiums reflect income. Therefore, if you’re in a higher income bracket, you will pay more for coverage, this is known as IRMAA.

In addition to your premium, Medicare Part B also requires you to pay a deductible, copayments, and coinsurance each time you use your benefits.

Why Are Some Medicare Advantage Plans Free?

While some Medicare Advantage plans do have a $0 premium, this does not mean the coverage is entirely “free”. When enrolled in Medicare Advantage, you will still need to pay your Medicare Part B premium.

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There are both pros and cons of Medicare Advantage plans. They may offset the zero-dollar premiums by requiring higher copayments and coinsurance. They also tend to have higher out-of-pocket costs than Medigap Plans.

Is Medicare Part D Free?

Before Medicare Part D was established, beneficiaries were responsible for paying the full retail cost of prescription drugs out of pocket. As you can imagine, this could get very costly.

With the creation of Medicare Part D, these costs have been reduced, but not eliminated entirely.

Each Medicare Part D plan requires that you pay a premium as well as a deductible, copayments, and coinsurance at the pharmacy.

There are resource programs to help you cover these costs. Extra Help is a low-income-subsidy that can greatly reduce your Part D costs if you qualify.

Are Medicare Supplement Plans Free?

No, Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans are not free. However, they can free you from paying out of pocket costs when you use your Medicare Part A and Part B benefits.

Since Original Medicare leaves you responsible for deductibles and coinsurance, Medigap plans fill in those gaps in coverage. Depending on the letter plan you choose the average monthly cost of Medigap insurance ranges anywhere between $50-$300.

How to Get Medicare Free

Aside from Part A, Medicare is not free.

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Proper planning can help you cover the costs of your Medicare coverage and set you up for a healthy financial future. The last thing we want is to find out were unable to pay for Medicare once we have returned. So, plan now and avoid the headache.

Our licensed agents are here to help guide you to suitable coverage that not only fits your healthcare needs, but your financial needs as well. Give us a call at the number above to uncover your options. If you can’t call now, fill out an online rate form, and find the best rates in your area.

Kayla Hopkins

Kayla Hopkins

Content Editor
Kayla Hopkins is an accomplished writer and Medicare educator serving as the Editor of MedicareFAQ.com. Upon completing her Communications degree from Ohio University, Kayla dedicated her time to understanding the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare. With her extensive background as a Licensed Insurance Agent, she brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her writing.
Ashlee Zareczny

Ashlee Zareczny

Compliance Manager
Ashlee Zareczny is the Compliance Manager for MedicareFAQ. As a licensed Medicare agent in all 50 states, she is dedicated to educating those eligible for Medicare by providing the necessary resources and tools. Additionally, Ashlee trains new and tenured Medicare agents on CMS compliance guidelines. Ashlee is a Medicare expert who specializes in Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage, and Medicare Part D education.

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