Medicare Part A, which covers hospital insurance, is typically premium-free for most people at age 65 if they or their spouse have worked and paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years. However, Medicare Part B, which covers medical insurance, does have a monthly premium. Additional coverage options, like Part D for prescription drugs and supplemental plans, may also have associated costs.

Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) helps cover inpatient care in hospitals, skilled nursing facility care, hospice care and home healthcare.

Medicare Part B (medical insurance) helps cover services from doctors and other healthcare providers; outpatient care; durable medical equipment, like wheelchairs, hospital beds and other equipment; and many preventive services, like screenings, vaccines and yearly wellness visits.

Medicare Part D (drug coverage) helps cover the cost of prescription drugs, including many recommended shots and vaccines. Beneficiaries can join a Medicare drug plan in addition to Original Medicare (Parts A and B) or they can get it by joining a Medicare Advantage Plan with drug coverage. Plans that offer Medicare drug coverage are run by private insurance companies that follow rules set by Medicare.

Medicare Supplemental Insurance (Medigap) is extra insurance you can buy from a private company that helps pay your share of costs in Original Medicare. Policies are standardized, and in most states named by letters, like Plan G or Plan K. The benefits in each lettered plan are the same, no matter which insurance company sells it.

How much does Medicare cost?

For Medicare Part A, the premium in 2024 is $0 for most people because they paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years while working. If you don’t qualify for premium-free Part A, you might be able to buy it. In 2024, the premium is either $278 or $505 per month, depending on how long you or your spouse worked and paid Medicare taxes. The Medicare Part A deductible is $1,632 for each time you’re admitted to the hospital per benefit period, before Original Medicare starts to pay.

For Medicare Part B, the premium in 2024 is $174.70 each month (or higher, depending on your income). The amount can change each year. You might pay a penalty if you don’t sign up for Part B when you first become eligible for Medicare (usually when you turn 65). The deductible for Part B in 2024 is $240. You pay this deductible once each year. Additionally, you will usually pay a coinsurance of 20% for the cost of each Medicare-covered service or item after you’ve met your deductible.

For Medicare Part D drug coverage, monthly premiums vary based on which plan you join. The amount can change each year.

Medicare Advantage plans, or Part C, are private insurance plans that often combine Parts A, B and D. The monthly premiums can change each year. Deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments vary based on which plan you join. You’re also limited to in-network providers on an Advantage plan.