How do I Minimize Medicare Cost?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 17 January 2019
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Although Medicare has some terrific advantages and many fans, this program is by no means free. Anyone qualifying for Medicare parts A and B is likely going to pay around $100 US Dollars (USD) a month for part B coverage (subject to yearly change). They may even need to pay for part A coverage (over $200 USD monthly) if they have not accumulated 40 credits entitling them to full coverage or are not married to or in some cases formerly married to someone who did. If a person is nearing Medicare eligibility and does not yet qualify, perhaps the best advice to minimize Medicare cost is to return to work to qualify. If the credits needed are only off by 4-12, this might be earned in one to three years by working full time.

When eligibility is attained, people would have a number of choices that could minimize Medicare cost. One of the options many people have is to buy into a Medicare advantage plan (part C), which can sometimes lower costs spent when medical care is needed. Medicare covers some medical and hospitalization care after a deductible is paid. Often cost of hospitalization, once deductible is met is slightly over $1000 USD, and people can also expect to plunk down 20% when they see doctors. There are some exceptions and people should fully read the Medicare original plan, while comparing it to others available.


For people who are not in good health, the Medicare plan may not cover enough. It eventually stops coverage when a certain amount is reached, and it limits hospitalization days. The 20% at doctor’s offices could also exceed what many people want to pay. People might spend a little more upfront with plans other than traditional Medicare that ultimately lower Medicare cost or health care costs by buying a plan that has more benefits that original Medicare gives.

Some advantage plans, especially HMOs, might be joined for an extra $50-100 dollars per month. They may offer excellent prescription drug benefits and they could have fewer limits on total care and smaller deductibles; they may be better deals for people with little extra money to spend on care, especially on deductible amounts. The disadvantage with these plans is that they limit doctor choice, so finding out exactly which doctors a person can see is important.

A helpful tool for comparing plans including the Medicare original plan, is available on the US Health and Human Services website. It can search for plans in a geographic area and compare them, so people know exactly what they can expect to spend. It also estimates yearly plan cost based on current state of health. Naturally a person at 65 has achieved the wisdom that life can change swiftly, and will want to factor into account the ramifications of a dramatic shift in health. However, in just premium spending alone, those who are unconcerned with risk could maintain the original plan, and if fully eligible they pay only the part B costs.

Some Medicare advantage plans have prescription drug coverage, but others don’t. Another way that people may be able to minimize Medicare cost is by buying or enrolling in Medicare part D or prescription drug coverage. This is typically less expensive and may help lower amounts spent on certain drugs. There are some free or very low cost options in part D. Note that it isn’t necessary to enroll in part D if a person has prescription drug coverage with part C.

For those who are really strapped, one potential way to minimize Medicare cost is by getting state or private assistance. People may qualify for the Medicaid program in their state, which pays all or a percentage of costs, based on circumstances and income. Things like the State Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs could be useful when people hit the assistance gap in drug coverage that occurs after a certain amount is spent.



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