What Will Medicare Coverage Cost Me Per Month?

Table of Contents:

  1. Your Monthly Costs Under Original Medicare
  2. Your Monthly Costs Under Medicare Advantage
  3. Additional Costs Under Medicare

Many seniors are shocked to learn that Medicare coverage is by no means free. The amount you pay for coverage each month will depend on a number of factors, such as whether you choose original Medicare versus Medicare Advantage, whether you buy supplemental insurance, and how much money you earn.

Your Monthly Costs Under Original Medicare

If you sign up for original, or traditional, Medicare, you’ll get coverage under three distinct parts: Parts A, B, and D. Part A, which covers hospital care, doesn’t charge most enrollees a premium, but Parts B and D, which cover preventive care and prescription drugs, respectively, do.

The standard monthly Part B premium is currently $135.50 per month. Higher earners, however, pay more. For example, if you’re a married couple filing jointly earning between $170,000 and $214,000, you’ll pay $189.60 per month for Part B. If you earn between $214,000 and $267,000, you’ll pay $270.90.*

Meanwhile, your costs under Part D will depend on the drug plan you choose. Unlike Part B, there’s no single universal prescription plan; you can select from a range of plans with varying premium costs. Keep in mind, however, that as is the case with Part B, if you’re a higher earner, you’ll pay a surcharge on top of your Part D plan’s standard premium.

Then there’s Medigap, or supplemental insurance. Though you’re not required to have it, it can pick up the tab for other expenses you’ll incur under original Medicare, like coinsurance and deductibles. Your costs for Medigap will depend on which of the 10 available plans you choose from.

Your Monthly Costs Under Medicare Advantage

An alternative to original Medicare, Medicare Advantage, also known as Part C, is an all-in-one plan that covers hospital care, doctor visits, and prescriptions. Private insurance companies that are approved by Medicare can offer Advantage plans, and your monthly premium costs will depend on the specific plan you choose. Some Advantage plans, in fact, have a $0 premium, though your savings there will likely be offset by higher deductibles, copays, and coinsurance. Keep in mind that if you have an Advantage plan, you won’t have to pay for Medigap — it can’t be used with Part C.

Additional Costs Under Medicare

The above costs outline the expenses you’ll face to obtain coverage through Medicare. The services you require, however, will also dictate how much you spend on a monthly basis.

For example, if you regularly take a certain prescription medication, you’ll need to factor your associated copay for it into your monthly expenses. Furthermore, whenever you use your Medicare coverage for hospital care, outpatient treatment, or to see a doctor, coinsurance will apply — meaning, you’ll pay a percentage of the cost of your services.

Finally, whether you have original Medicare or Medicare Advantage, you’ll need to meet a deductible before your services are covered. With Advantage, your deductible will depend on your plan. The current Part B deductible is $185 per year, but for Part A, you’ll pay $1,364 per benefit period during which you enter a hospital.**

Your takeaway? Budget accordingly for Medicare. While your premium costs will be fairly predictable once you sign up for coverage, the additional expenses you’ll incur can vary on a month-to-month basis.

Find out more about 2019 Medicare coverage costs at Medicare Resources.

Maurie Backman has been writing about personal finance and healthcare for well over a decade. Her articles have appeared on The Motley Fool, CNN Business, USA Today, and MSN. Maurie is a Binghamton University graduate who enjoys reading, hiking, watching hockey, and rejoicing in the fact that her creative writing degree actually amounted to something.

* Anonymous, (October, 2018). 2019 Medicare Parts A & B Premiums and Deductibles. Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Retrieved September, 2019
** Anonymous, (2019). Medicare costs at a glance. The Office U.S. Government Site for Medicare. Retrieved September, 2019