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What you pay for Medicare — and what’s taken out of your Social Security check — depends on your Medicare plan and your family’s income. 

Medicare beneficiaries choose between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage. The federal government offers Original Medicare, which is Parts A and B. Part A covers hospital care; Part B handles physician and outpatient care. 

Private insurers provide Medicare Advantage plans, also called Part C. Medicare Advantage insurers contract with the federal government to provide coverage for hospital, physician and outpatient care. Medicare Advantage plans also usually offer prescription drug and supplement benefits, and may include dental and vision.

Whether you choose Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage is one factor in how much money is taken from your Social Security check to pay for health coverage. 


Key Takeaways

  • People become eligible for Medicare when they turn 65 or if they qualify due to a disability such as end-stage renal disease or ALS.
  • To pay for the Original Medicare, the federal government takes the premium cost directly out of your Social Security check.
  • Medicare Advantage gives you the option of paying your private health insurer directly instead of taking the money out of your social security check.
  • Medicare Advantage offers many different premiums depending on the plan.

When are you eligible for Social Security and Medicare? 

People are eligible for Medicare  when they turn 65 or earlier if they have a qualifying disability such as end-stage renal disease or ALS.

How to pay for Medicare when you have Social Security

The federal government takes the premium cost directly out of your Social Security check to pay for Original Medicare. 

However, if you have Medicare Advantage, you can pay the private health insurer directly instead of having the money taken out of your check. The same goes for if you have a Part D prescription drug plan. 

How much does Medicare cost?

Part A is free to most Americans. It’s free as long as you paid taxes for at least 40 quarters of Medicare taxes. If you don’t qualify for premium-free part A, you might be able to buy it. That cost could be $505 in 2024 depending on how long you or your spouse worked and paid Medicare taxes.  

Part B costs $174.70 monthly for most Americans. People who file individual taxes and make more than $103,000 and those who file joint taxes and make more than $206,000 pay more each month. For instance, those who file individual tax returns with family income of $500,000 or more ($750,000 and above for joint filers) pay $594 for Part B.  

Meanwhile, Medicare Advantage has different premiums depending on the plan, however, there are plans with zero premiums. Zero-premium plans often have higher deductibles. On the flip side, Medicare Advantage plans with higher premiums often have lower deductibles.  

Part D prescription drug plans also have varied premiums . Your income plays a role in Part D premiums. People who file individual tax returns with family income of more than $103,000 (and joint filers who make more than $206,000) have to pay higher premiums. 

No matter the type of Medicare, people on Social Security can let the federal government take the money directly from your Social Security checks. Having the money removed directly from your check means you won’t have to remember to pay for coverage. 

Source: “Medicare costs.” Accessed August 2022.

Disclaimer: is not affiliated with or endorsed by the government or Federal Medicare program. Plans are insured or covered by a Medicare Advantage 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. We do not offer every plan available in your area. Currently we represent 10 organizations which offer 100 products in your area. Please contact, 1800-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. Part B Premium give-back is not available with all plans. Actual Part B premium reduction could be lower. Deductibles, copays and coinsurance may apply. Enrollment in the described plan type may be limited to certain times of the year unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. 


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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.