- If you’re not collecting Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) benefits, you’ll receive a bill from Medicare for your Part B premium.
- If you pay for a Part A premium, you’ll also receive a bill from Medicare.
- These bills are paid in advance for the coming month or months, depending on the parts of Medicare you’re paying for.
- If you’re already receiving retirement benefits, your premiums may be automatically deducted from your check.
- Part C, Part D, and Medigap bills are sent directly from the insurance company that provides your plan.
Medicare is made up of multiple parts, and each part may have a monthly premium you’ll need to pay.
If you receive Social Security or RRB benefits, your monthly premiums will be automatically deducted from your monthly benefit payment.
If you’re not receiving these benefits, you’ll get a bill for your premiums, either monthly or quarterly, depending on which part of Medicare you’re paying for. These bills are paid in advance of your coverage.
In this article, we’ll explain how Medicare monthly premiums are paid, when those payments are due, and how to pay them.
If you enroll in Medicare before you begin collecting Social Security benefs, your first premium bill may surprise you. It will be due, paid in full, 1 month before your Medicare coverage begins.
This bill will typically be for 3 months’ worth of Part B premiums. So, it’s known as a quarterly bill.
If you have original Medicare (parts A and B), you’ll continue to receive bills directly from Medicare, until you start collecting either Social Security or RRB benefits. Once your benefits begin, your premiums will be taken directly out of your monthly payments.
You’ll also receive bills directly from your plan’s provider if you have any of the following:
- Medicare Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage
- Medicare Part D, which is prescription drug coverage
- Medigap, also called Medicare supplement insurance
The structure of these bills and their payment period may vary from insurer to insurer.
Social Security and RRB benefits are paid in arrears. This means that the benefit check you receive is for the previous month.
For example, the Social Security benefit check you receive in August is for July benefits. The Medicare premium deducted from that check will also be for July.
When to pay for original Medicare
If you have original Medicare and aren’t yet collecting Social Security, you’ll receive a bill from Medicare either monthly or once every 3 months in these cases:
- If you don’t have premium-free Part A, you’ll receive a monthly bill for your Part A premium.
- If your income exceeds a certain amount, you’ll receive a monthly bill for your Part D income-related monthly adjustment amount (IRMAA) surcharge.
- If you have only Part B, the bill for your Part B premium will be sent quarterly and will include the cost of 3 months’ worth of premiums.
These bills are paid in advance of coverage. For example, if you applied for Medicare to start in August, you’ll receive a bill in July for your August, September, and October Part B premiums.
If you also pay for Part A or a Part D IRMAA surcharge, the bill you receive in July will be for August’s premium.
If you’re already collecting Social Security or RRB benefits, your monthly Medicare premium will be automatically deducted from your benefit amount.
When to pay for Part C, Part D, and Medigap
Medicare Part C, Part D, and Medigap are all purchased from private insurers. The way you’re billed for monthly premiums may vary based on your insurer.
In some cases, you may receive a monthly bill. Other insurers may give you the option of paying quarterly.
Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans may or may not have a monthly premium. This is determined by the plan you choose. Medicare Part D and Medigap plans typically do have monthly premiums.
Once you start receiving Social Security benefits, the monthly premiums for your Part C, Part D, or Medigap plan can be deducted from your benefits. However, this process isn’t automatic — you’ll need to contact the plan provider to set up automatic payment.
It may take 3 months or longer until your premiums begin to be automatically deducted from your Social Security benefits. Talk with your plan provider to find out whether you should continue to pay your usual premium amount during this time or withhold payment.
Sometimes, not paying during this lag time may result in a large, single withdrawal of benefit funds the first time your premiums are deducted.
Each part of Medicare has different out-of-pocket costs associated with it. These costs include:
- monthly premiums
Medicare Part A costs
Most people are eligible for premium-free Part A. To be eligible, you or your spouse must have worked at least 40 calendar quarters (10 years) and paid Medicare taxes during that time.
If you’re not eligible for premium-free Part A, you can choose to purchase it. The monthly premium cost for Part A ranges from $259 to $471 based on your work history.
Medicare Part B costs
Most people pay the standard Part B premium. In 2021, that amount is $148.50.
If the modified adjusted gross income you reported on your taxes from 2 years ago is higher than a certain limit, though, you may need to pay a monthly IRMAA in addition to your premium. The maximum you can expect to pay for your Part B premium is $504.90 per month.
Medicare Part B also has out-of-pocket costs associated with it. These include an annual deductible of $203.
After you’ve met your deductible, you’ll pay coinsurance on most services that Medicare Part B covers. This amount is 20 percent of the Medicare-approved costs of services and supplies.
Part C, Part D, and Medigap costs
Medicare Part C, Part D, and Medigap plans all have varying costs and coverage options. Some have monthly premiums, while others do not.
These plans also have varying costs for coinsurance and copays. All the costs are based on the plan you choose, as well as the area where you live.
There are plans designed to meet every need and budget. To compare plans and providers in your area, click here.
What if I miss a payment or send it late?
If you have original Medicare and are late paying your monthly premium, you’ll get a second bill requesting payment. If your premium remains unpaid, you’ll receive a delinquency notice, followed by a termination notice.
To maintain coverage, you must pay the full past-due amount within 30 days of the termination notice.
If you have a Medicare Advantage or Part D plan and miss a payment, you’ll receive a notice from your plan provider. Your missed payment will appear on your next bill, and you’ll be given a grace period of at least 2 months to pay it. The length of this grace period varies by provider.
You’ll continue to receive notices of nonpayment that will include information about disenrollment from your plan if your past-due amount isn’t paid in full within the grace period. You may also incur late fees or penalties during this time.
It’s important to know your plan’s policy about disenrollment; these vary from provider to provider.
If you fail to pay your plan’s premiums during the grace period, your plan may disenroll you from benefits. At that time, you’ll receive a final notice, letting you know that you’re no longer covered under your plan.
You can pay your Medicare bill in several ways. We’ll go over how to pay for each part of Medicare in the sections below.
Original Medicare and Part D IRMAA
If you receive a Medicare bill for Part B premium and Part D IRMAA costs, you may pay it in these ways:
- Medicare’s Easy Pay system lets you pay your Part A or Part B premium electronically. You can pay manually or set up automatic payments to be taken directly from a checking or savings account.
- You can pay with a debit card or credit card by writing your card number directly on your bill and mailing it in.
- You can pay with a check or money order.
What about Part C, Part D, and Medigap?
You pay these bills directly to your plan provider. Each company may have a preferred method of payment.
Your insurer will let you know all your options for paying your bill. These may include:
- autopay, which automatically deducts the amount from your checking or savings account on a specific date each month
- paying by check
- paying by debit or credit card, either online or by mail
What if I still need more help?
If you have any additional questions about making payments to either Medicare or to a private insurer, here are some resources that can help:
If you aren’t receiving Social Security or RRB benefits, you’ll get a bill from Medicare for your Part B premium and your Part A premium (if you don’t have premium-free Part A). Part D IRMAA charges may also be included in this bill.
These costs are due in advance for the coming month or months.
If you have Part C, Part D, or Medigap, your insurer will bill you directly for your monthly premiums. These may be due in advance, either monthly or quarterly.
If you’re already receiving retirement benefits, your premiums will be automatically deducted from your monthly check.
This article was updated on November 20, 2020, to reflect 2021 Medicare information.