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How do I pay my Medicare premiums?

You can pay your Medicare premiums several ways, depending on which Medicare part you’re paying and if you’re receiving Social Security benefits.

Typically, most people don’t pay premiums for Medicare Part A but do for Part B, which is $170.10 a month in 2022 ($164.90 in 2023). People with high incomes pay even more.

You’ll also have to pay premiums if you decide to buy extra policies from private insurers to help cover Medicare’s out-of-pocket costs. Private Part D prescription drug plans and Medicare supplement plans, also known as Medigap, have separate premiums. If you have coverage from a private Medicare Advantage plan instead of original Medicare, you may have extra premiums, too.

How do I pay premiums for Medicare Part A?

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You typically won’t pay a premium for Medicare Part A if you or your spouse had Medicare taxes deducted from your pay for 10 years of work. In Medicare speak, that’s 40 quarters on the calendar, and they don’t have to be continuous.

If neither you nor your spouse worked that long, you can count on a premium payment every month. In 2022, if you or your spouse paid Medicare taxes for 30 to 39 quarters, you’ll pay $274 a month for Part A ($278 in 2023). If you or your spouse paid Medicare taxes for fewer than 30 quarters, you’ll pay $499 a month for Part A ($506 in 2023).

Medicare will bill you for any Part A premium you owe, and you have the option of paying electronically or by mail. Details are below.

How do I pay premiums for Medicare Part B?    

If you receive Social Security benefits or Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) benefits — a program that began in the 1930s for the nation’s railroad workers and is still in effect — your Medicare Part B premium is automatically deducted from those benefits, and you won’t receive a bill.

If you aren’t receiving Social Security benefits yet, you’ll receive a quarterly bill from Medicare for your Part B premium. You have four ways to pay it:

1. Log into your online Medicare account and pay by credit card, debit card or electronic funds transfer from your checking or savings account.

After you log in, select My premiums from the drop-down menu under your name, then Pay Now and choose your payment method and the amount you want to pay. You’ll be linked to the U.S. Treasury’s secure site to complete your payment.

Keep the confirmation number you’ll receive as a record that you’ve paid. Expect your bank to take about five business days to process a transfer from your checking or savings account. Credit card payments are generally processed faster.

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2. Sign up for Medicare Easy Pay. With this free service, Medicare automatically deducts the premium payments from your savings or checking account each month. Deductions are made on the 20th of the month or the next business day.

To sign up for Medicare Easy Pay, log into your online Medicare account, select My premiumsSign up to complete a short online form. You also can enroll by mailing a paper form. Keep in mind that your automatic deductions may take six to eight weeks to start. You’ll need to pay your premiums another way until then.

Once your account is established, you’ll receive a monthly statement letting you know the amount Easy Pay will deduct from your bank account. Your bank statement will show a payment to CMS Medicare Premiums.

3. Pay directly from your checking or savings account through your bank’s online bill payment service if available. Your bank will need your 11-character Medicare number, the number on your Medicare card but without the dashes. The payee name is CMS Medicare Insurance and the payee address is Medicare Premium Collection Center, P.O. Box 790355, St. Louis, MO 63179-0355.

Online payments generally process in five business days, but your bank may take longer if it mails a check. You might want to ask your bank how long it needs.

4. Mail your payment to Medicare. You can pay your bill by mail using a check, credit card, debit card or money order. Write your Medicare number on your payment and fill out your payment coupon. Send it to the address on the bill: Medicare Premium Collection Center, P.O. Box 790355, St. Louis, MO 63179-0355.

What about Part D, Medicare Advantage or Medigap?

If you choose to get extra coverage from a private insurer to help pay Medicare’s out-of-pocket costs or drug coverage, you may have to pay additional premiums to the plan:

• Part D prescription drug coverage. You’ll receive monthly bills or an annual coupon book with monthly payment sheets from the plan. You can sign up to make automatic payments using your bank account or credit card.

You can ask your plan to deduct your premium from your monthly Social Security benefits, called a premium withhold. The automatic payments can take up to three months to take effect after you’ve requested the premium withhold. You may have to pay premiums directly to your plan until then.

If you have to pay a high-income surcharge for Part D, also called an Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA), that extra monthly premium goes to Medicare rather than to the plan. If you receive Social Security benefits, the IRMAA is deducted automatically from your payments. Otherwise, you’ll receive a monthly bill from Medicare for the extra amount and will have the same payment options as listed in Part B above.

• Medicare Advantage plans. If you have coverage from a private Medicare Advantage plan rather than original Medicare, you still need to sign up for Medicare Parts A and B and pay the monthly premiums. You may have to pay an additional monthly premium to your Medicare Advantage plan although many plans don’t charge more.

Your Medicare Advantage plan will send monthly bills, but you may be able to sign up to make automatic payments using your bank account or credit card. If you must pay a high-income surcharge for the drug portion of the coverage, you can either have the IRMAA deducted automatically from your Social Security benefits or Medicare will bill you monthly for that amount. The same goes for RRB benefits.

• Medicare supplement plans. If you buy a Medigap policy to help cover Medicare’s deductibles and copayments, you’ll have to pay premiums directly to the plan. Contact your plan to find out more, but generally you’ll have similar electronic payment and mail-in options as the other plans.

Keep in mind

If you have trouble affording your Medicare Part A or Part B premiums or out-of-pocket costs, you may qualify for a Medicare Savings Program. Eligibility is based on income and assets and varies by state. You can find out more from your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP).

If you need help paying your Medicare Part D premium and out-of-pocket costs, you may qualify for the Extra Help program.

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