Medicare plans have deductibles just as individual health insurance plans do. Both Original Medicare and, typically, Medicare Advantage Plans, require you to meet a deductible, an amount you pay for healthcare or for prescriptions before your healthcare plan begins to pay.

Both Medicare Part A, the hospital insurance program, and Medicare Part B, which covers doctor services, among other things, have a deductible, which is one type of out-of-pocket cost members may have to pay.

Medicare Advantage Plans, which may offer additional benefits, have different costs depending on the plan.

The deductibles listed below are for 2019 Original Medicare Part A and Part B.

Medicare Part A deductible

Unlike with Medicare Part B, you might have to pay more than one deductible in a year for Medicare Part A, which covers inpatient care in a hospital or skilled nursing facility. Original Medicare requires that you pay a deductible for each "benefit period" in a year.

A benefit period begins the day you're admitted to a hospital or skilled nursing facility and ends when you haven't spent the night in one of them for 60 consecutive days. If you're admitted to a hospital or skilled nursing facility after one benefit period has ended, then a new one begins, and you have to pay another deductible.

The 2019 Medicare Part A deductible for each benefit period will be $1,364 — less than the average cost of a single night in a U.S. hospital.1

Medicare Part B deductible

Medicare Part B covers most doctor services, including those you receive while hospitalized, as well as outpatient therapy and durable medical equipment, which is equipment your doctor prescribes because it is medically necessary. Such equipment ranges from blood sugar monitor test strips for people with diabetes to walkers to hospital beds.

The 2019 Part B deductible is $185 for the year. No benefit periods apply to Part B coverage.

Medigap insurance to cover deductibles

You can buy private Medicare supplemental—or medigap—insurance to cover traditional Medicare's out-of-pocket expenses, including the hospital deductible.

However, if you're in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you cannot use medigap insurance. In fact, it is illegal to sell medigap insurance to someone in a Medicare Advantage plan.

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