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Is Medicare Free?

No, Medicare is not Free!

Unfortunately, many people believe that Medicare is free.  This is not correct!  There are two parts to Original Medicare, which is what people sign up for through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).  Part A, which is for inpatient services such as hospitalizations and rehabilitation.  Part B, which is for outpatient services such as doctor visits and preventive care services.  

Part A does not have a monthly premium.  

Medicare Part A does not have a monthly premium for most individuals.  Individuals qualify for premium free Part A if they have paid Medicare taxes for 40 payroll quarters (10 years).  If you look at your weekly or biweekly checks, you will see a deduction for Medicare.  This is what has been deducted from your checks to cover the cost of Part A.  If you have not worked, you can qualify through a spouse who has worked and paid the Medicare tax for the allotted amount of time.  

Part B does have a monthly premium.  

Regardless of how many years you have worked, you will have to pay a monthly premium for Medicare Part B.  The based monthly premium is $164.90 for 2023.  However, if your income has been about certain thresholds, you could incur an adjustment to your base premium.  This adjustment is known as the Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA).  If you are assessed the IRMAA, this can be reduced in future years if your income decreases over time.  


The bottom line is that Medicare is not free, so don't be surprised when your Social Security check has a deduction that you were not expecting.