How much will Medicare Parts A, B, C and D cost?

Trying to guesstimate how much your healthcare will cost you in your retirement? Well, that’s the $64,000 question—or the $270,000 question, if you believe some estimates.1

Medicare continues to be a lifeline for many retirees turning 65. But when planning for retirement, many of us have no idea what Medicare actually costs.

We hope this overview helps.

Medicare Part A—Hospital coverage

What it helps cover:

  • Hospital care
  • Skilled nursing facility care
  • Nursing home care (as long as that isn't the only care you need)
  • Hospice care
  • Home healthcare

What it costs:

  • Most people don't pay a monthly premium for Medicare Part A because they paid Medicare taxes while they were working. However, there are other costs associated with Medicare.

Other Part A costs for 2021:

  • $1,484 annual deductible for in-patient hospital stays for each benefit period
  • Days 1–60: $0 coinsurance for each benefit period
  • Days 61–90: $371 coinsurance per day of each benefit period
  • Days 91 and beyond: $742 coinsurance per each “lifetime reserve day” after day 90 for each benefit period (up to 60 days over your lifetime)
  • Beyond lifetime reserve days: all costs

Medicare Part B—Medical coverage

What it helps cover:

  • Medically necessary doctors’ services
  • Outpatient care
  • Chiropractic care
  • Home health services
  • Durable medical equipment
  • Many preventive services

What it costs:

  • The Part B monthly premium in 2021 is $148.50
  • If you don't enroll in Medicare Part B as soon as you are eligible, you could be assessed a late enrollment penalty when you do enroll.
    • The penalty could be as high as a 10% increase in your premium for each 12-month period that you were eligible but not enrolled.
  • Your Part B premium could be higher depending on your income.

Other Part B costs:

  • There is a $203 annual deductible for Medicare Part B in 20201. After the deductible, you’ll pay a 20% copay for most covered doctor services while hospitalized, for durable medical equipment and for outpatient therapy.
  • There is a 20% copay of the Medicare-approved amount for doctor visits to diagnose a mental health condition after the deductible.
    • If you receive these services at a hospital outpatient department or clinic, additional copays or coinsurance amounts may apply.
  • There is a 20% copay of the Medicare-approved amount for outpatient services after the deductible.

Medicare Part C—aka Medicare Advantage

What it helps cover:

  • Medicare Advantage plans are required by law to provide—at minimum—the same coverage, benefits and rights provided by Original Medicare Part A and Part B, with the exception of hospice care.
  • Many Medicare Advantage plans also choose to offer prescription drug coverage, as well as dental, vision and hearing benefits, to compete for your business.

What it costs:

  • Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private insurance companies contracted by the federal government, so they vary in cost, coverage, deductibles and copays.
  • Many Medicare Advantage plans offer low or $0 monthly plan premiums plus a variety of benefits not offered by Original Medicare (Medicare Parts A and B).

See costs and coverage for Humana Medicare Advantage plans

Medicare Part D—Prescription coverage

What it helps cover:

  • Medicare Part D covers prescriptions drugs.
  • Plan premiums, the drugs that are covered, deductibles, coinsurance and copays vary by plan, so you should compare plans each year based on your needs, the prescription drugs you take, etc.

What it costs:

  • Like Medicare Advantage (Part C), prescription drug plans (Part D) are offered by private insurance companies contracted by the federal government.
    • Plans vary in cost, coverage, deductibles and copays.
  • There’s a late enrollment penalty if you don’t enroll in an approved Medicare drug plan (including a Medicare Advantage plan) when you’re first eligible, unless you have creditable prescription drug coverage through another Medicare health plan that offers Medicare prescription drug coverage.
  • Medicare calculates the penalty by multiplying 1% of the "national base beneficiary premium" ($33.06 in 2021) times the number of full, uncovered months you didn't have Part D or creditable coverage.
    • This penalty is assessed when you enroll, and you’ll pay the higher amount for as long as you keep your Part D coverage
  • Your Part D premium could be higher depending on your income.

See costs and coverage—Humana prescription drug plans

Pulling it all together

We hope this overview makes it a little easier to estimate your healthcare costs in retirement, opens new window, but when you get right down to it, your healthcare needs can change overnight or over time.

That’s why the cost of healthcare in retirement should be at or near the top of the list of expenses that you’ll want to plan for.


  1. “A Bit of Good News During the Pandemic: Savings Medicare Beneficiaries Need for Health Expenses Decrease in 2020,” Employee Benefit Research Institute, last accessed July 21, 2020,, opens new window

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