Medicare is a federal health insurance program that primarily serves the elderly and disabled Americans. Over the years, there have been several changes in Medicare rates, benefits, and coverage. Many beneficiaries often wonder whether Medicare premiums have gone up or down. If you’re among them, this article is for you.
Before delving into whether or not Medicare premiums went up, let’s get an overview of the basics of the program. Medicare is divided into four parts: Part A, Part B, Part C (also known as Medicare Advantage), and Part D (prescription drug coverage).
Part A of Medicare is also referred to as hospital insurance. It covers inpatient hospital stays, hospice care, skilled nursing care, and some home health care. Most beneficiaries don’t have to pay a premium for Part A because they have paid Medicare taxes while working.
Part B of Medicare is also known as medical insurance. It covers medically necessary services like doctor’s services, outpatient hospital care, preventative services, and medical equipment. Most beneficiaries pay a monthly premium for Part B, which can be determined by your income. The more you earn, the higher the monthly premium you pay.
Part C, alternatively called Medicare Advantage, offers all the benefits of Part A and Part B, and sometimes additional benefits like vision, hearing, and dental services. Medicare Advantage is provided by private insurance companies approved by Medicare. Beneficiaries may pay an additional premium for Part C, depending on the plan and location.
Part D offers coverage for prescription drugs. It’s provided by private insurance companies approved by Medicare. Beneficiaries may pay an additional premium for Part D, the amount of which depends on the chosen plan, location, and income.
Changes to Medicare Costs
Medicare premiums, deductibles, and copays can change from year to year. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announce the new prices in the fall, and they become effective from January 1 of the following year. Here’s what the changes for 2021 looked like:
Medicare Part A
|Charge||2020 cost||2021 cost|
|Part A inpatient deductible||$1,408||$1,484|
|Part A inpatient daily coinsurance||$352||$371|
|Skilled nursing facility daily coinsurance||$176||$185.50|
Medicare Part B
For most people, the standard Part B premium amount in 2021 was $148.50, up from $144.60 in 2020. However, higher-income beneficiaries pay higher premiums than those who earn less. The chart below shows the 2021 monthly premiums based on income:
|Filing status and income||Monthly premium in 2021|
|Single, below $88,000 or married, below $176,000||$148.50|
|Single, $88,000-$111,000 or married, $176,000-$222,000||$207.90|
|Single, $111,000-$138,000 or married, $222,000-$276,000||$297.00|
|Single, $138,000-$165,000 or married, $276,000-$330,000||$386.10|
|Single, above $165,000 or married, above $330,000||$475.20|
Medicare Part C
Medicare Advantage premiums vary depending on the plan you choose. Some plans offer $0 monthly premiums, while others can cost more than traditional Medicare. The monthly premium can also depend on your location, provider network, and the benefits you choose.
Medicare Part D
Similar to Part C, Part D premium costs depend on your chosen plan, location, and income. Medicare beneficiaries can use Medicare’s Plan Finder tool to compare plans and premiums.
The Bottom Line
Medicare costs can change from year to year, and it’s essential to stay up-to-date with the new premiums and deductibles. Understanding the basics of Medicare and the different parts can help you determine which plan fits your healthcare needs and budget.
Here are some commonly asked questions concerning Medicare costs:
- Did Medicare rates go up in 2021?
- What is the Medicare Part A and Part B deductible for 2021?
- Does Medicare Advantage cost more than traditional Medicare?
- Can I change my Medicare Advantage plan at any time?
- Do Medicare premiums change every year?
Yes, Medicare Part B premiums increased slightly for most beneficiaries.
The Part A deductible for 2021 is $1484, up from $1,408 in 2020. The Part B deductible remains at $198.
It depends on the plan you choose, but some Medicare Advantage plans offer $0 monthly premiums.
No, you can only change your Medicare Advantage plan during certain enrollment periods, such as the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) from October 15 to December 7.
Yes, Medicare premiums can change every year. The CMS releases new prices in the fall, and they take effect on January 1 of the following year.