The Medicare Premium Payment Process

Last Updated : 09/13/20195 min read

Some Medicare coverage does come with a monthly premium, just like most health insurance. In some cases, you don’t have to pay a Medicare premium. Here’s what you need to know about Medicare premiums.

How to pay Medicare premiums: Medicare Part A

For many people, the Medicare Part A premium is painless.

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That’s because a lot of people don’t have to pay a premium for Part A.

If you’ve worked at least 10 years (40 quarters) while paying Medicare taxes, you typically get Part A without paying a premium.

However, if you’ve worked 30-39 quarters, you’ll have to pay a Medicare Part A premium of $240 in 2019. If you’ve worked fewer than 30 quarters, you’ll have to pay a Medicare Part A premium of $437 in 2019.

If you don’t qualify for premium-free Medicare Part A, you’ll get a bill in the mail for your Part A premium.

How to pay Medicare premiums: Medicare Part B

Most people pay a monthly Medicare Part B premium. But most people don’t have to write a check for it. If you receive retirement benefits from Social Security Administration (SSA), or the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB), your Part B premium is deducted from your monthly benefit payments. If you qualify for Medicare due to a disability, usually it works the same way – your premium is deducted from your Social Security or RRB benefit payment.

  • For some people, Medicare Part B premiums are more than their retirement or disability benefits. If that’s your situation and you receive benefits from Social Security, your entire benefit is withheld, and you pay the balance directly to Medicare. But if your benefits come from the RRB or the Civil Service, your premium isn’t deducted. Instead, Medicare sends you a bill.
  • Medicare will send you a Medicare Part B premium bill if you’re not receiving SSA or RRB retirement or disability benefits. These bills are due quarterly. But if you prefer not to pay three months of Medicare premiums at a time, you may contact Medicare and arrange to pay Part B Medicare premiums monthly. Medicare contact information is below.

Do you get a bill for your Medicare premiums (Part A and/or Part B)? If so, you can choose to pay in any of these ways:

  • Mail a check or money order to the address printed on the bill.
  • Pay by credit card, using the bottom portion of the payment coupon sent with the bill.
  • Pay through your bank’s online bill payment service.
  • Sign up for Medicare Easy Pay. This free service lets you set up, a system that allows premiums to be deducted from your checking or savings account each month. To arrange this service, go to the Medicare.gov website. 

How to pay Medicare premiums: Medicare Advantage (Part C) and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (Part D)  

Medicare Advantage plans and stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plans are offered by private, Medicare-approved insurance companies.

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If you have either type of plan, the plan will generally explain how you can pay your monthly premium – if it charges one. Some Medicare Advantage plans may have premiums as low as $0.

You still need to pay your Medicare Part B premium, along with any premium your Medicare Advantage plan or Medicare prescription drug plan may charge.

You may be able to pay your plan’s Medicare premiums in one of the following ways:

  • Arrange an automatic deduction from your monthly Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefit payment.
  • Mail a monthly check to the plan. If you and your spouse enroll in the same plan, it is wise to send separate checks for each premium. This will emphasize that you are making one month premium payment for two people and not a 2-month premium payment for one person.
  • Set up an electronic transfer from your bank account.
  • Charge the payment to your credit card by mail, by phone, or online.

If you decide you’d like your plan premium automatically withheld from your Social Security benefit payment, contact your Medicare prescription drug plan, not Social Security. If you want your premium deducted from your monthly Social Security payment. It might take three months for your first deduction to start. In that case, you’ll probably see three months’ worth of premiums deducted at the same time.

After that, only one premium is deducted every month.

Changing how you pay Medicare premiums

In most cases, the way you’ve chosen to pay your Medicare premium for your Medicare health or prescription drug plan is in force for the rest of the calendar year. If you need to change to another payment method, call the plan.

Paying Medicare premiums if you don’t have to pay the whole premium

You may have other insurance that pays part of your Medicare Part D Prescription Plan premiums. For instance, you may have insurance from an employer, union or State Pharmacy Assistance to help pay your Medicare premiums for Part D prescription drug coverage. Social Security still deducts the whole premium amount from your retirement or disability check. In this case, your Medicare Part D prescription drug plan refunds the amount due to you. However, if you prefer to pay premiums directly to the plan, you’ll be billed only for your share of the premium, and your other insurance will pay its share directly to the plan as well.

If your income is under a certain level, you may be eligible for the Extra Help program that provides low-cost Part D prescription drug coverage. You might qualify for help paying the plan premium.

Or, you may be eligible to enroll in a Medicare Savings Program, under which your state might pay your Medicare premiums for Part A, if applicable, and Part B.

If you’d like to compare Medicare prescription drug plans right now, or another type of Medicare coverage – it all starts when you enter your zip code in the box on this page.

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