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How Can I Save On Out-of-Pocket Medicare Costs?

By Zawn Villines
Medicare doesn’t cover everything, but enrolling in either Medicare Advantage or Medigap can reduce your out-of-pocket expenses.

In 2017, Medicare beneficiaries spent an average of $5,801 on out-of-pocket healthcare fees. One in 10 spent $10,268 or more, according to a 2020 American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) public policy report. Medical expenses can make your monthly budget feel less manageable, especially if you’re living on a fixed income. But you don’t have to bear these costs alone. A number of programs can help you reduce your Medicare out-of-pocket expenses. 

What Are Common Out-of-Pocket Medicare Expenses?

The specific Medicare expenses you’ll incur depend on the policy you choose and your health needs. Some expenses you might face include: 

  • Deductible: You’ll need to meet an annual deductible before full coverage kicks in. 
  • Premiums: Your monthly premiums can eat into your budget. 
  • Non-covered services: While Medicare covers most basic medical and hospital care, it won’t cover everything. You’ll need to pay out-of-pocket for long-term care, alternative and complementary medicine, as well as eye and dental care. 

What Can I Do to Save on Out-of-Pocket Costs?

The right Medicare plan or supplemental insurance can help you reduce or even eliminate certain out-of-pocket costs. But choosing the right plan begins with identifying your needs. For example, a plan that offers broad coverage for a variety of services won't necessarily be optimal for you if it doesn’t cover the prescription drugs that you need. 

Some options for covering additional Medicare costs include: 

  • Medicare Advantage Plans: Medicare Advantage is private health insurance available to Medicare beneficiaries. It's an alternative to Original Medicare (Parts A and B). These plans cover services similar to those you’d receive with Original Medicare, but also frequently offer additional coverage for prescription drugs, dental care, and eye care. 
  • Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans: Medigap coverage is a type of private insurance available to Original Medicare beneficiaries. Medigap plans help cover the coinsurance, deductibles, and premiums associated with Original Medicare. 
  • Private insurance: If you are eligible for private insurance, such as through a spouse’s employer, that insurance may pay a portion of Medicare out-of-pocket expenses. 

Get Started Now

Interested in learning more about Medicare, Medigap, and Medicare Advantage plans? WebMD Connect to Care Advisors may be able to help.