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2021 (Update) Medicare Premiums at a Glance

The cost of Medicare premiums increased once again in 2021. Find out how much you can expect to pay, and learn some different ways to potentially save on costs.

Medicare may be a government health insurance program, but that doesn’t mean it’s free.

Here is a look at the 2021 Medicare premiums for each part of Medicare, along with how much these premiums increased from 2020.

2021 Medicare Part A premium

Medicare Part A is hospital insurance, and it helps provide coverage for inpatient care costs at hospitals and other types of inpatient facilities.

Most people do not pay a premium for Medicare Part A in 2021.

You must have worked and payed Medicare taxes for 40 quarters (10 years) to qualify for premium-free Part A.

If you paid Medicare taxes for only 30-39 quarters, your 2021 Part A premium will be $259 per month. If you paid Medicare taxes for fewer than 30 quarters, your premium will be $471 per month.

How it changed from 2020
The 2021 Part A premiums increased by $7 and $13, respectively, in 2021.

2021 Medicare Part B premium

Medicare Part B is medical insurance, and it covers things like doctor’s office visits and other types of outpatient care, along with durable medical equipment (DME). 

The standard monthly Medicare Part B premium is $148.50 in 2021, though some beneficiaries who have higher reported incomes will be charged a higher premium.

This higher Part B premium is called the Income-Related Monthly Adjusted Amount (IRMAA). If you must pay a Medicare IRMAA, it will be based on your reported income from two years ago.

The table below illustrates how your 2021 Part B premiums could be affected by your reported income in 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

$148.50

More than $88,000 and up to $111,000

More than $176,000 and up to $222,000

N/A

$207.90

More than $111,000 up to $138,000

More than $222,000 up to $276,000

N/A

$297.00

More than $138,000 up to $165,000

More than $276,000 up to $330,000

N/A

$386.10

More than $165,000 up to $500,000

More than $330,000 up to $750,000

More than $88,000 up to $412,000

$475.20

More than or equal to $500,000

More than or equal to $750,000

More than or equal to $412,000

$504.90

Medicare Part B is optional. You will likely be automatically enrolled in Part B (with the option to drop it) if you are automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A.

Your Part B premium can be deducted from your monthly benefit payment if you receive benefits from either Social Security, the Railroad Retirement Board or the Office of Personnel Management.

If you don’t receive any of these benefit payments, you will simply get a bill in the mail for your Part B premium.

How it changed from 2020
The 2021 Part B premium rose by $3.90 from 2020.

  • By law, Part B premiums for current Medicare beneficiaries may not increase by more than the amount of the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits.

  • The COLA in 2021 is 1.3 percent.

2021 Medicare Part C premiums

Medicare Part C plans, also known as Medicare Advantage plans, are sold on the private marketplace. Plan premiums will vary by provider, plan and location.

89 percent of Medicare Advantage plans include prescription drug coverage in 2021 (these are called MA-PD plans). More than half (54 percent) of all 2021 MA-PD plans charge no premium, other than the Medicare Part B premium.1

The average 2021 Medicare Advantage plan premium is $33.57 per month for plans with prescription drug coverage.2

Medicare Advantage plans are required to offer the same benefits as Original Medicare (Part A and Part B), and some Medicare Advantage plans may also offer additional benefits for things like routine dental and vision coverage, non-emergency transportation, caregiver support, allowances for over-the-counter (OTC) items and more.

And according to Medicare expert John Barkett, Medicare Advantage monthly premiums dropped in 2020 by as much as 14 percent. Hear more about this in the video below.

2021 Medicare Part D premiums

Medicare Part D plans, which provide coverage exclusively for prescription medications, are also sold by private insurance companies. Part D plan premiums will vary from plan to plan.

The average Part D plan premium in 2021 is $41.64 per month.2

Part D plan premiums can also be subject to a Medicare IRMAA for higher income earners. The table below shows the extra amount you might pay for Medicare Part D premiums in 2021 based on your reported income from 2019.

The full breakdown is as follows:

Medicare Part D IRMAA
2019 Individual tax return 2019 Joint tax return 2019 Married and separate tax return 2021 Part D monthly premium

$88,000 or less

$176,000 or less

$88,000 or less

Your plan premium

More than $88,000 and up to $111,000

More than $176,000 and up to $222,000

N/A

$12.30 + your plan premium

More than $111,000 up to $138,000

More than $222,000 up to $276,000

N/A

$31.80 + your plan premium

More than $138,000 up to $165,000

More than $276,000 up to $330,000

N/A

$51.20 + your plan premium

More than $165,000 up to $500,000

More than $330,000 up to $750,000

More than $88,000 up to $412,000

$70.70 + your plan premium

More than or equal to $500,000

More than or equal to $750,000

More than or equal to $412,000

$77.10 + your plan premium

Are you looking for Medicare prescription drug plan? You can compare Part D plans in your area and enroll in a Part D prescription drug plan or a Medicare Advantage plan that includes prescription drug coverage online.

You can find out if any plans available near you cover the prescription drugs you take, and the cost you can expect to pay under the plan.

Compare Medicare drug coverage options in your area

Compare Plans

Or call TTY Users: 711 to speak with a licensed insurance agent. We accept calls 24/7!

You can also compare Part D prescription drug plans and enroll online when you visit MyRxPlans.com.

2021 Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) premiums

Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) provides coverage for some of the out-of-pocket costs that Medicare Part A and Part B don't cover. This can include costs such as Medicare deductibles, copayments, coinsurance and more.

Medigap plans are sold by private insurance companies so there is no standard premium. The average Medigap plan premium in 2018 was $125.93 per month.3

It's important to note that several factors can affect the Medicare Supplement plan premiums in 2021, such as gender, smoking status and where you live.

Some Medicare Advantage plans offer $0 premiums

Did you know that some Medicare Advantage plans offer $0 premiums?

$0 premium plans aren’t available in all locations, so call a licensed insurance agent today to compare the plans that are available where you live.

Call today to get started and to speak with a licensed agent.

Compare Medicare Advantage plan costs in your area

Compare Plans

Or call TTY Users: 711 to speak with a licensed insurance agent. We accept calls 24/7!

2021 Medicare late enrollment penalties

Medicare Part A, Part B and Part D include late enrollment penalties that can be applied in certain situations.

  • For Part A, the late enrollment penalty is applied to anyone who did not sign up for Medicare during their Initial Enrollment Period and must buy Medicare Part A coverage.

    The Part A late enrollment penalty is 10 percent of any owed premium, which must be paid for twice the number of years for which you were eligible but did not enroll.

  • Part B beneficiaries may also have to pay a late enrollment penalty for every year they were eligible for Part B but did not sign up for it. The penalty is also 10 percent and is owed every year for as long as you continue to be enrolled in Medicare Part B.

  • For Part D, the late enrollment penalty is dependent on how long you went without a Part D plan or other creditable prescription drug coverage (such as a Medicare Advantage plan offering prescription drug coverage or certain employer-provided prescription drug plans).

    To calculate the Part D late enrollment penalty, Medicare multiples 1 percent of the “national base beneficiary premium” (which is $33.06 in 2021) by the number of months you went without coverage. And because the national base beneficiary premium can increase each year, so too can the penalty.

Paying Medicare premiums in 2021

As you’re learned in this article, not all Medicare premiums are alike. And neither are the ways in which they can be paid.  

If a premium is owed for Medicare Part A, a monthly bill is typically sent to the beneficiary.  

If you receive Social Security benefits, you can generally have your Part B, Medicare Advantage, Part D or Medicare Supplement Insurance premiums deducted directly from your Social Security check. Those who do not receive Social Security benefits are directly billed for their premiums.

Payment arrangements may include mailing a check, an electronic transfer from a bank account or charging a credit or debit card.

Discounts and financial assistance

Just like there are various methods of paying Medicare premiums, there are also some different ways to get help paying them.

  • Medicare Savings Programs can help pay for Part A and Part B premiums, and potentially other out-of-pocket costs.
  • Extra Help is a federal program that helps pay for Part D premiums.
  • PACE (Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly) can help alleviate the cost of a Part D plan.

In addition, because Medicare Advantage, Part D and Medigap plans are sold by private insurers, companies may offer various discounts and cost-saving incentives to customers.

Some of the offers that can be found may include discounts for households or married partners, non-smokers and more, but these will vary based on the plan provider.

Analyze Medicare premiums with a Licensed Agent

Deductibles, coinsurance and other out-of-pocket costs may not always be predictable expenses, but premiums will be there month after month.

When analyzing the cost of premiums for various parts of Medicare and plans associated with Medicare, consider what that premium affords you in terms of coverage and additional costs.

A licensed insurance agent can help you examine the 2021 premium costs of your Medicare options as you find a health insurance plan that suits your budget.

Find a $0 premium Medicare Advantage plan today.

Speak with a licensed insurance agent

1-800-557-6059

1 Fuglesten Biniek, J. et al. (Oct. 29, 2020). Medicare Advantage 2021 Spotlight: First Look. Kaiser Family Foundation. Retrieved from www.kff.org/report-section/medicare-advantage-2021-spotlight-first-look.

2 MedicareAdvantage.com's The Best States for Medicare in 2021 report. (Oct. 27, 2020).

3 TZ Insurance Solutions LLC internal sales data, 2019. This data is based on the Medicare Supplement Insurance policies TZ Insurance Solutions LLC has sold. It is not a comprehensive national average of all available Medicare Supplement Insurance plan premiums.

Christian

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.

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