In 2021, the standard Medicare Part B premium is $148.50 per month.
Most people pay the standard premium amount, but your Part B premium could be higher depending on your income. Some people who get Social Security benefits may pay less.
In 2021, individuals with reported 2019 incomes of more than $88,000 and married couples with reported 2019 incomes of greater than $176,000 have to pay more for their Part B coverage.
This increased amount is called the Medicare IRMAA, or the Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amount.
The chart below shows what you will pay for your Part B premium in 2021 based on your modified adjusted gross income from two years prior (2019).
Medicare Part B IRMAA
2019 Individual tax return
2019 Joint tax return
2019 Married and separate tax return
2021 Part B monthly premium
$88,000 or less
$176,000 or less
$88,000 or less
More than $88,000 and up to $111,000
More than $176,000 and up to $222,000
More than $111,000 up to $138,000
More than $222,000 up to $276,000
More than $138,000 up to $165,000
More than $276,000 up to $330,000
More than $165,000 up to $500,000
More than $330,000 up to $750,000
More than $88,000 up to $412,000
More than or equal to $500,000
More than or equal to $750,000
More than or equal to $412,000
Part B deductible
Your Part B deductible is the amount you must pay in medical costs before Medicare begins paying its share.
In 2021, the Part B deductible is $203 per year.
Part B coinsurance/copayment
After you meet your Part B deductible, you typically pay 20 percent of the Medicare-approved amount for most doctor’s services.
Part B excess charges
Doctors who do not accept Medicare assignment can charge more than the Medicare-approved amount for a service or procedure. The difference between the amount a doctor charges and the Medicare-approved amount is known as an excess charge.
The Part B excess charge can be as much as 15 percent more than the Medicare-approved amount.
2021 Medicare Advantage (Part C) costs
Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) is an alternative to Original Medicare that provides the same benefits as Medicare Part A and Part B.
Many Medicare Advantage plans may cover prescription drugs.
Some Medicare Advantage plans also offer coverage for vision, dental and hearing, as well as health and wellness programs such as SilverSneakers to help keep enrollees active and healthy.
Some Medicare Advantage plans may offer additional benefits such as transportation to doctor's appointments, grab bars in home bathrooms and healthy meals delivered to your home.
Original Medicare does not cover vision, dental or hearing services that are not considered medically necessary. This includes routine and preventive care.
If you’re enrolled in Original Medicare, you are responsible for 100 percent of the costs related to these services.
If your Medicare Advantage plan includes coverage for prescription drugs, you typically pay a coinsurance or copayment for covered drugs. With Original Medicare, you could pay 100 percent of the costs of many prescription drugs.
Specific prescription drug costs will vary depending on the Medicare Advantage plan you enroll in.
Medicare Advantage out-of-pocket maximum
Medicare Advantage have an out-of-pocket maximum, which limits how much you could pay out of pocket for care in a given year. Original Medicare does not have an out-of-pocket maximum.
The following chart shows how Medicare Advantage coverage and benefits compare to those of Original Medicare.
Original Medicare vs. Medicare Advantage
Helps cover hospital and medical costs
May cover routine dental care
May cover routine vision care
May cover prescription drugs
Has an out of pocket maximum
Medicare Advantage premiums
Because Medicare Advantage plans are sold by private insurance companies, there is no standard premium like there is with Original Medicare. Premiums may vary according to plan, insurance carrier and location.
In 2021, the average monthly premium for a Medicare Advantage plan that includes prescription drug coverage is around $33 per month.1
Depending on where you live, there may be Medicare Advantage plans available that feature $0 premiums.
According to Medicare expert John Barkett, Medicare Advantage premiums dropped by around 14 percent in 2020. Hear more about this in the video below.
Medicare Advantage deductibles
Deductibles for Medicare Advantage plans can vary.
In 2021, the average weighted drug deductible for a Medicare Advantage plan with prescription drug coverage is around $167 per year.1
Some Medicare Advantage plans may feature $0 deductibles.
2021 Medicare Part D costs
Original Medicare does not generally cover prescription drugs, with the exception of limited outpatient prescription drugs.
If you want Medicare prescription drug coverage, you can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan that includes drug coverage, or you can enroll in a stand-alone Part D (Medicare Prescription Drug Plan) plan.
Compare Part D plans available where you live and enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan online in as little as 10 minutes when you visit MyRxPlans.com.2
* Plan F and Plan C are not available to Medicare beneficiaries who became eligible for Medicare on or after January 1, 2020. If you became eligible for Medicare before 2020,... you may still be able to enroll in Plan F or Plan C as long as they are available in your area.
1 Plans F and G offer high-deductible plans that each have an annual deductible of $2,370 in 2021. Once the annual deductible is met, the plan pays 100% of covered services for the rest of the year. The high-deductible Plan F is not available to new beneficiaries who became eligible for Medicare on or after January 1, 2020.
2 Plan K has an out-of-pocket yearly limit of $6,220 in 2021. After you pay the out-of-pocket yearly limit and yearly Part B deductible, it pays 100% of covered services for the rest of the calendar year.
3 Plan L has an out-of-pocket yearly limit of $3,110 in 2021. After you pay the out-of-pocket yearly limit and yearly Part B deductible, it pays 100% of covered services for the rest of the calendar year.
4 Plan N pays 100% of the Part B coinsurance, except for a copayment of up to $20 for some office visits and up to $50 copayment for emergency room visits that don’t result in an inpatient admission.+ Read more
Foreign travel emergency costs
Original Medicare does not typically cover healthcare services received outside of the U.S. and its territories. This means that you are generally responsible for 100 percent of your health care costs while traveling abroad.
Listed below are three exceptions to this rule.
You’re in the United States when you have a medical emergency and a foreign hospital is closer than the nearest U.S. hospital.
You live in the United States and a foreign hospital is closer to your home than the nearest U.S. hospital that can treat you for your medical condition.
You’re traveling through Canada “without reasonable delay” by the most direct route between Alaska and another state when a medical emergency occurs and the Canadian hospital is closer than the nearest U.S. hospital.
If you have a Medigap plan that helps cover foreign travel emergency costs, however, you could get help covering some of the costs that Original Medicare would not otherwise typically pay.
Medicare Advantage eligibility and enrollment
Once you’re enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B, you may be able to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan.
Speak with a licensed insurance agent to learn more about your options and to compare Medicare Advantage plans in your area.
Compare Medicare Advantage plan costs in your area
2 10-minute claim is based solely on the time to complete the e-application if you have your Medicare card and other pertinent information available when you apply. The time to shop for plans, compare rates, and estimate drug costs is not factored into the claim. Application time could be longer. Actual time to enroll will depend on the consumer and their plan comparison needs.
About the author
Christian Worstell is a licensed insurance agent and a Senior Staff Writer for MedicareAdvantage.com. He is passionate about helping people navigate the complexities of Medicare and understand their coverage options.
His work has been featured in outlets such as Vox, MSN, and The Washington Post, and he is a frequent contributor to health care and finance blogs.
Christian is a graduate of Shippensburg University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He currently lives in Raleigh, NC.
Where you've seen coverage of Christian's research and reports:
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