Q: What does Medicare Advantage cost?
A: Those who enroll in Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage, sold through private insurers) pay premiums in addition to the $135.50/month that most enrollees pay for Part B in 2018. According to CMS, the average Medicare Advantage plan premium is $28/month in 2019 — the lowest it’s been in three years.
But most Medicare Advantage plans include prescription drug (Part D) coverage, and those plans average $40/month in premiums in 2019.
Medicare Advantage premiums fall into a wide spectrum, depending on a variety of factors. And most Medicare Advantage enrollees (90 percent in 2019) have access to at least one zero-premium policy. Although these plans have higher out-of-pocket costs than plans with premiums, they make it possible for enrollees to have full coverage yet pay only the monthly premium for Medicare Part B. According to CMS, nearly half of Medicare Advantage enrollees have zero-premium plans in 2019.
And all Medicare Advantage plans have to cap enrollees’ out-of-pocket costs at no more than $6,700 in 2019, regardless of the premium. But this out-of-pocket cap does not include the cost of prescription drugs under the Part D benefit that’s integrated with most Medicare Advantage plans.