insure logo

Why you can trust

quality icon

Quality Verified

At, we are committed to providing the timely, accurate and expert information consumers need to make smart insurance decisions. All our content is written and reviewed by industry professionals and insurance experts. Our team carefully vets our rate data to ensure we only provide reliable and up-to-date insurance pricing. We follow the highest editorial standards. Our content is based solely on objective research and data gathering. We maintain strict editorial independence to ensure unbiased coverage of the insurance industry.

You’ll want to take all of that into account when choosing a Medicare plan.

People become eligible for Medicare when they reach 65. Also, people who collect Social Security disability payments for a period and people with end-stage renal disease or ALS are eligible for Medicare.

Key Takeaways

  • Medicare Part A is free to most Americans, as long as you paid at least 40 quarters of Medicare taxes.
  • Medicare Part B costs about $174 monthly.
  • Medicare Advantage costs vary by plan and many insurance companies offer premium plans that could have a zero-dollar monthly premium.
  • Part D monthly premiums vary as well.

Original Medicare covers you for hospital and medical services, but it doesn’t have prescription drug benefits. You can add on a Part D prescription drug plan to help with those costs.

Medicare Advantage, meanwhile, not only covers hospitals and medical services, but also usually provides prescription drug benefits. Offered by private insurance companies, Medicare Advantage may also provide additional benefits, such as vision, dental and/or hearing. When comparing Medicare Advantage plans, check to see the plans’ additional benefits to see which one makes more sense for you.

Let’s look at the different Medicare premiums and deductibles for Medicare plans:

Medicare premium for 2024

Type of planWhat it coversAverage Medicare premiumsDeductible
Part AHospitals and some skilled nursing facilitiesUsually $0$1,632
Part BPhysicians, outpatient care, medical supplies and preventive servicesAt least $174.70After you reach the deductible of $240 in 2024, you’re responsible for 20% of the costs for each Medicare-covered service item
Part CMedicare plans through private insurers; which can include additional benefits, including prescription drug coverageVariesVaries
Part DPrescription drug coverageVariesVaries

Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Some caveats to mention:

  • Part A — Most Americans are eligible for premium-free Part A coverage when they reach 65 or for people with qualifying disabilities such as ALS or end-stage renal disease. However, people who haven’t worked and paid Social Security taxes may have to pay premiums. Medicare provides premium-free Part A for Americans who paid at least 40 quarters of Social Security taxes. Those who paid taxes for fewer than 30 quarters must pay $505 monthly; people who paid taxes between 30 and 39 quarters must pay $278 monthly. 
  • Part B — People with incomes more than $103,000 or $206,000 for joint filers pay higher Part B premiums. Regardless of income, once you reach your deductible, you pay 20% of Part B costs. 
  • Part D — The amount you pay for Part D deductibles, copayments, and/or coinsurance varies by plan. Look for specific Medicare drug plan costs, and then call the plans you’re interested in to get more details.

What is the Medicare Part B premium for 2024?

If your yearly income in 2022 (for what you pay in 2024) was:
File individual tax returnFile joint tax returnFile married & separate tax returnYou pay each month (in 2024)
$103,0000 or less$206,000 or less$103,000 or less $174.70
Above $103,000 up to $129,000above $206,000 up to $258,000Not applicable $244.60 
Above $129,000 up to $161,000Above $258,000 up to $322,000 Not applicable$349.40 
Above $161,000 up to $193,000Above $322,000 up to $386,000 Not applicable$454.20 
Above $193,000 and less than $500,000Above $386,000 and less than $750,000Above $103,000 and less than $397,000$559.00
$500,000 or above$750,000 or above$397,000 or above$594.00

Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Medigap can help with Medicare costs

People with an Original Medicare plan can purchase a Medigap plan. Also known as Medicare Supplement Insurance, Medigap plans are different from Medicare Advantage Plans. The 10 standard Medigap plans (named by letters: A-D, F, G, and K-N) offered by private insurers help pay for your portion of the costs associated with Original Medicare such as co-pays, deductibles and coinsurance for services Part A and Part B cover in Original Medicare.

The only difference between Medigap plans with the same plan letter sold by different companies is the Medigap plan premium.

Medigap isn’t available for people with Medicare Advantage plans.

How to shop for a Medicare plan

What’s the right Medicare plan for you depends on multiple factors, including your eligibility to enroll — such as when you are turning 65, or if you have a qualifying life event that allows you to have a special enrollment period — the plans offered in your state, which plans your providers accept, co-payments, deductibles, coinsurance, out-of-pocket costs, quality of plans and supplemental offerings. 

You’ll want to first make sure your providers accept the Medicare plan before joining. Otherwise, that provider could be considered out-of-network and you’ll have to pay more, or even all, of the costs. Keep in mind that health maintenance organization (HMO) plans usually don’t allow you to get out-of-network care. 

If you’re comparing Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) vs. Medicare Advantage, review all costs — not just copays. You want to especially look into out-of-pocket costs like  deductibles  and coinsurance costs. Coinsurance is the portion of the bill you will be responsible for after you reach your deductible.  

Also, dig into the information from multiple Medicare Advantage plans — Don’t just look at one or two plans. 

If you’re comparing Medicare Advantage plans, you’ll additionally want to consider a plan’s design. An HMO may be cheaper than a preferred provider organization (PPO) plan, but you may also have more restrictions with an HMO. HMOs require a primary care provider referral to see a specialist and you likely won’t be able to get covered for out-of-network care. 

A PPO gives you more flexibility, but that also could come with higher premiums. PPOs and HMOs often have similar deductibles and coinsurance.  

If you’re looking for a Medicare plan with additional benefits like dental and vision, a Medicare Advantage plan might be better for you. Medicare Advantage allows private insurance companies to offer  additional benefits not found in Original Medicare plans. 

You’ll also want to think about how much health care you need. Ask yourself these questions: 

  • Do you have a health condition that requires regular doctor visits? 
  • Do you have multiple prescriptions? 
  • Do you expect to need more health care services in the coming years? 

By answering these questions, you can decide whether you should get a plan with a higher premium but lower deductibles or a plan with a lower premium and higher deductibles. 

High-deductible health plans typically come with lower premiums, but you’ll pay more when you need health care services up front. You’ll want to weigh premiums vs. out-of-pocket costs when you’re deciding on a plan. 

You can also use the  Medicare Plan Finder  tool. The tool shows the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) star ratings for each plan based on membership surveys, quality and performance. 

The costs of a Medicare plan are an important piece of finding the best plan for you, but make sure you’re also taking into account the plan’s network, quality and additional benefits. 

Sources: “Costs.” Accessed October 2023.

Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF). “Medicare Part D: A First Look at Medicare Prescription Drug Plans in 2022.” Accessed August 2022.

Medicare Advantage and Part D plans and benefits offered by the following carriers: Aetna Medicare, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aspire Health Plan, Centene Corporation, Dean Health Plan, Devoted Health, GlobalHealth, Health Care Service Corporation, Cigna-HealthSpring, Humana, Molina Healthcare, Mutual of Omaha, Oscar Health Insurance, Premera Blue Cross, Medica Central Health Plan, SCAN Health Plan, Scott and White Health Plan now part of Baylor Scott & White Health, UnitedHealthcare

Disclaimer: is not affiliated with or endorsed by the government or Federal Medicare program. Plans are insured or covered by a Medicare Advantage (HMO, PPO, and PFFS) organization with a Medicare contract and/or a Medicare-approved Part D sponsor. Enrollment in the plan depends on the plan’s contract renewal with Medicare. Enrollment in a plan may be limited to certain times of the year unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period or you are in your Medicare Initial Enrollment Period. We do not offer every plan available in your area. Currently we represent 10 organizations which offer 100 products in your area. Please contact, 1-800-MEDICARE, or your local State Health Insurance Program (SHIP) to get information on all of your options. Not all plans offer all of these benefits. Benefits and availability may vary by carrier and location. Limitations and exclusions may apply. Every year, Medicare evaluates plans based on a 5-star rating system.


author image
Les Masterson


Les, a former managing editor, insurance, at QuinStreet, has more than 20 years of experience in journalism. In his career, he has covered everything from health insurance to presidential politics.