Help pack a million meals for struggling seniors on Sept. 11. Volunteer today


AARP Staying Sharp: Keep Your Brain Healthy


The tablet with free 24/7 customer support. Learn More


Military and Veterans Discount


AARP’s Picture Your Retirement Sweepstakes

Enter the $50K Picture Your Retirement Sweepstakes. Ends 8/31/15. No purchase necessary. Enter for Official Rules.


AARP Games - Play Now!

AARP Books

Medicare for Dummies book cover

Get the answers you need, from Patricia Barry, AARP's Ask Ms. Medicare

Share Your Thoughts

Reader stories help us fine-tune our education efforts and strengthen our calls for action on issues that matter most to you. We read and learn from every story and may use yours (with permission) to brief legislators, inspire other readers and more. Please share your story with us. Do

Most Popular


Understanding Medicare

What Medicare Will Cost You

Information about your out-of-pocket expenses — and financial help if you need it

Medicare does not cover all of your health care costs. How much you end up paying depends on several factors, including:

  • Which Medicare plans and options you choose
  • How often you go to the doctor or hospital
  • Whether you have other health insurance to cover some costs               
  • Whether you qualify for help with Medicare costs
  • Your income

Most people who qualify for Medicare don’t pay a monthly premium for Part A, which is sometimes dubbed "prepaid Medicare" because it is financed by the payroll taxes you paid while employed.

You will pay premiums for Part B, Medicare Advantage (Part C) and Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage (Part D), each of which is an optional coverage. These plans also have deductibles and copayments.

For information about current deductibles and premiums and other costs, visit or call Medicare at 800-633-4227. Some pricing information is available in AARP's article about 2011 Medicare premiums.

People with higher incomes (generally above $85,000) do pay higher Part B premiums. However, due to provisions in the new health care law, the costs of annual wellness visits and many preventive screenings are now covered in full.

Options are available to help you lower your Medicare costs. For instance, most people’s out-of-pocket charges are lower and more predictable under a Medicare Advantage plan than under Original Medicare. The downside to these plans is that they usually limit your choice of doctors and hospitals.

If your employer or union offers retiree health insurance, this insurance can help pay some of the costs that aren’t covered by Medicare. Likewise, Medicare supplemental insurance, or Medigap coverage, which is available through private insurers, can pay for some of the medical costs Medicare does not cover.

For people with low incomes, the Medicaid program can act as a Medigap plan to absorb the costs Medicare doesn’t cover. Other assistance programs and information resources include:

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

more medicare

Download a PDF of AARP's "Understanding Medicare" guide or request a copy by mail.

Your Part D Guide: Make Medicare's prescription drug coverage benefit you.

Protect Yourself from Health Care Fraud: These fact sheets can help you avoid insurance scams and medical identity theft.


Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Walgreens 1 discount membership aarp

Members can earn 50 points per $1 spent on select health & wellness products at Walgreens.

member benefit aarp hear usa

Members save 15% on easy listening devices and more at the HearUSA Hearing Shop.

Eye Med 4 Membership Benefit AARP Discount

Members save up to 60% on eye exams and 30% on glasses at Target Optical.

Membership Benefits Discounts Email Genius

Brain boost? Get AARP email for access to memory exercises & more that help you focus.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points