Key Takeaways

  • What is the purpose of Medicare? This federal health insurance program covers a wide range of services to keep you healthy as you age.

  • There are four parts of Medicare, and it's important to consider which coverages are right for you.

  • Learn more about what Medicare costs—you and find out how you can get expert help in exploring your Medicare options.

What is the cost of Medicare for 2024? How much does Medicare usually cost a month? Is Medicare free at 65? How much is Medicare Part A and B? For older adults on a budget, these are common questions.

Medicare coverage includes a wide range of medical services and can plays a big role in helping older Americans stay healthy and well. But Medicare is not free—and it does not cover everything.

Most people with Medicare will pay for a portion of their costs, but the amount paid depends on the specific services received and the plan a person has. Medicare is broken up into four parts, each providing a different set of health care benefits. These parts include:

  • Parts A and B (original Medicare)
  • Part C (private Medicare Advantage plans)
  • Part D (prescription drug plans)

You can also buy an optional, supplemental Medigap plan, which helps pay for costs not covered by Medicare Parts A and B.

What are the out-of-pocket costs for Medicare?

The Medicare costs you’ll pay out of your own pocket include premiums, deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance. This is often referred to as Medicare cost sharing.


A premium is the amount you pay each month to keep your Medicare plan active, whether it’s Part B, a Medicare Advantage plan, Part D, and/or a Medigap policy. Some people who do not have a work history may also have to pay a premium for Part A.


Before Medicare begins to pay out benefits, you are responsible for paying a certain amount. This is called the deductible. For example, if you had a hospital stay covered under Part A in 2024, you would have to pay $1,632 before your Medicare coverage kicks in.


A copayment is a fixed rate you pay for prescriptions, doctor visits, and other types of health care services. For example, you may pay $25 every time you see a specialist.


Coinsurance refers to a percentage of costs you pay for a covered drug or service once you've met your deductible. For example, you may pay 20% of the cost of each covered service, while insurance pays the remaining 80%.

Learn more about original Medicare (Parts A and B) costs and Part C costs.

Need Help Thinking Through Your Medicare Options?

Am I qualified for Medicare? Are Medicare Advantage plans worth it? Does Medicare pay for prescriptions? Does Medicare cover cataract surgery?

We know you may have many questions about Medicare. If you need help exploring your options, NCOA has trusted partners committed to helping you make the best coverage choices for your needs. These are licensed Medicare enrollment advisors who meet our Medicare Standards of Excellence. Learn more.