Social Security and Medicare: What Benefits You Get, and Premiums You’ll Need To Pay

Stethoscope with medicare form with parts list.
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Medicare is our country’s health insurance program, and is available to those who are aged 65 and older. The program is at least partially implemented in the hopes of reducing medical debt among low-income or disadvantaged persons.

See: Appealing to Social Security Administration Can Reduce Your Medicare Payments if You’ve Lost Income
Find: Medicare, Medicaid and What You Can Actually Qualify For

It is connected with Social Security in that Social Security enrolls you in Medicare Part A and Part B automatically when you apply for Social Security benefits — or when you turn 65.

What’s the Difference Between Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B?

Medicare Part A is hospital insurance. This helps you pay for inpatient care in a hospital — or limited time at a nursing facility following a hospital stay. Medicare Part A also pays for some health care and hospice care.

Medicare Part B is medical insurance. This helps you pay for services involving doctors and other health care providers, outpatient care, home health care, durable medical equipment and some preventive services.

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What You Will Pay for Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B

Most people aged 65 and older do not have to pay for Medicare Part A coverage, provided they have worked and paid Medicare taxes long enough. This means that, in most cases, senior citizens will not have to pay for Medicare Part A.

If you do opt to — or have to — buy Part A, you’ll pay up to $471 each month in 2021 ($499 in 2022). If you paid Medicare taxes for less than 30 quarters, the standard monthly Part A premium is $471 ($499 in 2022). If you paid Medicare taxes for 30-39 quarters, the standard Part A premium is $259 ($274 in 2022) per month.

Related: How To Acquire Your First Social Security Check

In order to enroll in Medicare Part B, you will have to pay a monthly premium. Some people with higher incomes will pay a higher monthly Part B premium. It is important to note that the law requires an adjustment to your monthly Medicare Part B and Medicare prescription drug coverage premiums. This circumstance only affects less than five percent of people with Medicare though — most people are not required to pay higher premiums. For the majority of beneficiaries, the government will pay about 75% of the Part B premium, and the beneficiary pays the remaining 25%. The standard Part B premium amount is $148.50 ($170.10 in 2022) per month — or higher, depending on your income.

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However, the Social Security Administration states that if they determine you are a high-income beneficiary, you will pay a larger percentage of the total cost of Part B. This total will be based on the income you normally report to the IRS. You will pay monthly Part B premiums equal to 35%, 50%, 65%, 80% or 85% percent of the total cost, depending on the income figure reported to the IRS.

Concerning Medicare Part C and Medicare Part D

There are also Medicare Part C and D plans. Medicare C, now known as the Medicare Advantage Plan, includes all benefits and services covered under Part A and Part B bundled together in one plan. The average monthly cost for this plan is around $25, however, you are often subject to copay fees and must continue to pay your Medicare Part B premium. The perceived advantages of a Medicare Advantage plan are a known, fixed out-of-pocket maximum fee, as well as — oftentimes — access to vision, hearing, dental and prescription drug coverage.

Learn: Senior Savings: How Exploring Medicare Options Cuts Costs During Open Enrollment
Explore: What Are Some Common Misconceptions About Medicare?

Medicare Part D is the prescription drug coverage plan. The national base premium for Part D is $33 per month for 2021.

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About the Author

Georgina Tzanetos is a former financial advisor who studied post-industrial capitalist structures at New York University. She has eight years of experience with concentrations in asset management, portfolio management, private client banking, and investment research. Georgina has written for Investopedia and WallStreetMojo. 
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