You may be able to get free Medicare Part A coverage if you paid enough in Medicare taxes over a certain amount of time. Your spouse may also get premium-free Medicare health insurance if you qualify. Read on to learn more about getting Medicare for free.

If you did not contribute the minimum in work taxes, you will have to pay a monthly premium for your health insurance . The amount depends on how many credits you earned through Medicare tax-deductions from your past paychecks.

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Depending on your Medicare work credits: 

  • You may not have a premium for Plan A.
  • You may have a reduced premium for Plan A.
  • You may have to pay the full premium amount for Plan A.

Most Medicare recipients have a $0 Part A premium.

Medicare credits determine how much you pay for premiums. The way it works is that the Medicare program gives you a credit for each calendar quarter you paid taxes for the minimum earnings.

For example, as of 2024, you can receive 1 credit for each quarter in which you have earnings of $1,730 or more. You cannot earn more than 4 credits in a year. In general, you would have had to work at least 10 years to get free Part A.

If you do not qualify for premium-free Part A, you may be able to buy it and pay a premium. In 2024, the Part A premium can be up to $505 each month, depending on the amount of Medicare taxes you or your spouse has paid.

In addition, all enrollees must meet a Part A deductible. Since Part A covers hospital visits, you will have to pay $1,632 out-of-pocket for hospital admissions before Medicare can help cover the costs. After you have paid $1,632, the Medicare program will cover the costs of hospital admissions for the year.

If you do not sign up for Medicare Part A when you turn 65, you may also have to pay a delayed-enrollment penalty. However, if you meet the requirements for a Special Enrollment Period, you typically do not have a late charge.

You may qualify for a special enrollment period if you missed your enrollment period due to exceptional circumstances, such as an emergency, a natural disaster, losing Medicaid eligibility or incarceration.

In addition to Part A premiums and deductibles, the costs of other Medicare parts include:

  • $174.70 premium for Medicare Part B (Note: The premium cost may be higher if you have a higher income).
  • $240 deductible for Medicare Part B.

Medicare Part B covers medically necessary services and supplies. The premium for Medicare Part D, which covers prescription drugs, will vary depending on which plan you choose.

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Updated on 04/22/2024