If you’re new to Medicare, you’ll soon learn that each part (A, B, C, and D) provides a different set of health insurance benefits. You may also learn that Medicare premiums are different for each part, too. But how different are they?

We explain what each part of Medicare might cost you.

Medicare Part A Premiums (for Hospital Insurance)

The first part of Original Medicare, Part A, covers hospital visits, skilled nursing care, home health care, and hospice care. For most, Medicare Part A comes at no additional cost. This is because most adults have already paid for Medicare Part A. How? Well, if you or your spouse have worked 40 quarters (10 years) or more in the United States, you’ve already paid Part A Medicare premiums through Social Security taxes.

If you haven’t worked for at least 40 quarters in the U.S., you will have to pay a premium for Part A coverage. You can buy into Part A, but premiums are around $471 per month in 2021.1

Medicare Part B Premiums (for Medical Insurance)

The second half of Original Medicare, Part B, covers doctor visits, preventive services, diagnostic testing, and durable medical equipment (DME). Many beneficiaries choose to enroll in Part B. For most seniors, Part B costs $148.50 per month in 2021.1 However, the Part B Medicare premium can increase based on your annual income. The possible increase is called the Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA) and is calculated based on your income two years prior to the adjustment year.2 For a closer look, see the chart below:3

2019 Income (Single) 2019 Income (Married) 2021 Part B Adjusted Monthly Premium
$88,000 and below $176,000 and below $148.50
$88,001 – $111,000 $176,001 – $222,000 $207.90
$111,001 – $138,000 $222,001 – $276,000 $297
$138,001 – $165,000 $276,001 – $330,000 $386.10
$165,001 – $500,000 $330,001 – $750,000 $475.20
$500,000 and above $750,000 and above $504.90

Medicare Part C Premiums

Medicare Part C, or Medicare Advantage, is an alternative to Original Medicare. You do not lose your Part A and Part B coverage, but you are still responsible for your Part B premiums. With Medicare Part C, you have comprehensive coverage that often covers additional benefits such as prescriptions and dental services.

Medicare Part C plans often boast no, or low, monthly premiums. Zero-dollar Medicare Advantage premiums are available to many. The cost will depend on factors such as your benefit choices, location, and the private insurance company selling the plan. To compare benefits and prices, get your FitScore®. HealthMarkets’ innovative FitScore technology can help you find the right balance between Medicare premiums and coverage for your individual needs – all at no cost to you.

Medicare Part D Premiums (for Prescription Drug Insurance)

Medicare Part D provides coverage for prescription medications. Like Medicare Part C, Medicare Part D is sold by private insurance companies. Medicare income limits also apply to Part D, meaning that IRMAA may also increase your Part D Medicare premiums. See the chart below for more information:4

2019 Income (Single) 2019 Income (Married) 2021 Part B Adjustment
to Monthly Premium
$88,000 and below $176,000 and below $0
$88,001 – $111,000 $176,001 – $222,000 $12.30
$111,001 – $138,000 $222,001 – $276,000 $31.80
$138,000 – $165,000 $267,001 – $330,000 $51.20
$165,001 – $500,000 $330,001 – $750,000 $70.70
$500,001 and above $750,001 and above $77.10

Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Premiums

Medicare Supplement plans, often called Medigap plans, are often paired with Original Medicare (Parts A and B). Medigap Plans are also organized by letter. By purchasing a Medigap plan, beneficiaries can help mitigate many of the out-of-pocket costs left behind by Original Medicare. For example, many Medigap plans cover coinsurance amounts, copays, and deductibles for Parts A and B. Because Medigap plans are sold by private insurance companies, and there are different levels of coverage between the plans, prices vary.

Help With Medicare Premiums

There are several programs available to help qualifying beneficiaries pay for their Medicare premiums. Some of these programs can also cover copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles. While these programs may not cover all your medical expenses, they can certainly help.

  • Extra Help (LIS): This subsidy helps cover Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage) costs. It can be applied to deductibles, copayments, and premiums. HealthMarkets can help you determine whether you qualify for Extra Help.
  • Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) Program: This program can help cover Part A and B premiums and out-of-pocket costs (deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments).
  • Specified Low-income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB) Program: This program can help cover Part B premiums.
  • Qualified Individuals (QI) Program: This program can help cover Part B premiums.
  • Qualified Disabled and Working Individuals (QDWI) Program: This program can help working disabled people who are younger than 65 and those who have lost their Medicare Part A premium-free coverage by going back to work.5 It helps cover Part A premiums.

Choosing the Right Medicare Coverage

Saving money may seem tempting on a fixed budget. However, selecting the lowest Medicare premiums may end up costing you more when it comes to deductibles, out-of-pocket costs, and uncovered medical services. Start comparing your Medicare options today with HealthMarkets!



1. “Medicare costs at a glance.” Medicare.gov. Retrieved from https://www.medicare.gov/your-medicare-costs/medicare-costs-at-a-glance. Accessed May 21, 2021.
2. “Part B costs for those with higher incomes.” Medicare Interactive. Retrieved from https://www.medicareinteractive.org/get-answers/medicare-health-coverage-options/original-medicare-costs/part-b-costs-for-those-with-higher-incomes. Accessed May 21, 2021.
3. “Part B costs.” Medicare.gov. Retrieved from https://www.medicare.gov/your-medicare-costs/part-b-costs. Accessed May 21, 2021.
4. “Monthly premium for drug plans.” Medicare.gov. Retrieved from https://www.medicare.gov/drug-coverage-part-d/costs-for-medicare-drug-coverage/monthly-premium-for-drug-plans. Accessed May 21, 2021.
5. “Qualified Disabled and Working Individuals (QDWI) Program.” Benefits.gov. Retrieved from https://www.benefits.gov/benefit/6180. Accessed May 21, 2021.

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