While Medicare is available to quite a few people, there are several costs that you should take note of, as not everyone could be paying the same thing.
Who Pays Less for Medicare?
There are multiple Medicare Savings programs to help low-income people get support paying for Medicare. Through the programs below, your Medicare costs are reduced:
- Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB) Program helps pay for Part B premiums for people who have Medicare Part A and limited income and resources. To qualify in 2021, you must make below $1,308/month for individuals and $1,762/month for couples and fall under the $7,970 individual resource limit and the $11,960 married couple resource limit.
- Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) Program helps pay for Part A premiums Part B premiums, deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments. To qualify in 2021, you must make below $1,094/month for individuals and $1,472/month for couples, as well as fall under the $7,970 individual resource limit and the $11,960 married couple resource limit.
- Qualifying Individual (QI) Program helps pay Part B premiums for people who have Part A and limited income and resources. To qualify in 2021, you must make below $1,469/month for individuals and $1,980/month for couples and fall under the $7,970 individual resource limit and the $11,960 married couple resource limit.
- Qualified Disabled and Working Individuals (QDWI) Program helps pay the Medicare Part A premium. You may qualify if you’re a working disabled person under 65, you aren’t getting state medical assistance, you meet your state’s income and resource limits, or you lost your Social Security disability benefits and premium-free Part A because you returned to work.
Medicaid, which is different from Medicare Savings programs, is also available in combination with Medicare.
Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that helps pay medical costs if you have limited income and/or resources and meet other requirements. People with Medicaid can get services covered that Medicare doesn’t cover or only partially covers, such as dental care, vision care, nursing home care, and transportation to medical services.
Premium-Free Part A
Most people also qualify for premium-free Medicare Part A, regardless of income. Generally, if you’ve worked a total of ten years, you can get this part premium-free because while you worked, you paid taxes into the Federal Insurance Contributions Act that funds Medicare.
Who Pays More for Medicare?
You pay more for Medicare if you don’t qualify for premium-free Part A. If you haven’t worked a total of ten years, don’t have a spouse who qualifies, or don’t have qualifying disabilities or medical conditions, you need to pay a premium for Medicare Part A.
The Medicare Part B premium, however, is income-based. Higher-income Medicare recipients will pay more for Part B. In 2021, higher premium amounts begin when you make more than $88,000 a year and go up from there.
How Much Does Medicare Cost?
As you can see, it depends. If you don’t qualify for premium-free Part A, that premium can be $259 or $471/month. The standard Part B premium is $148.50, but you may pay more based on your income. If your income qualifies, you may also be eligible for multiple Medicare Savings programs or a combination of Medicare and Medicaid to reduce your Medicare costs.
And, let’s not forget about Medicare Supplements, Part C, and Part D as well. For those enrolled in Original Medicare, you can choose to also get a Medicare Supplement plan that will help cover out-of-pocket costs, like deductibles or copays. However, Medicare Supplements also come with their own premiums. A supplement plan with more coverage will typically cost more than a supplement plan with less coverage.
You can also choose to enroll in Part C, which provides the same coverage as Original Medicare, but includes additional coverage for services like dental or vision coverage. Some Part C plans will even have a $0 premium, but you will still have to pay your other premiums for Part A and Part B.
Part D provides prescription drug coverage and can be purchased alongside Original Medicare or could be an added benefit in a Part C plan. As of 2021, the standard Part D premium is around $30 but can be as low as $7 or as high as $100.
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