Looking into Medicare when you turn 65 can bring up many questions. For example, what are the parts of Medicare? Who qualifies for free Medicare Part B? Do you need Medicare? There are lots of questions to be asked when it comes to Medicare. Let’s jump into who qualifies for free Medicare Part B!

Is Part B Free?

Part B will very rarely ever be free. Part B has monthly premiums, which differ based on your income level. The majority of people will have to pay a Part B premium. A few programs can reduce the cost of the Part B premium or even entirely cover the cost.

One of the reduce cost programs is the Qualified Medicare Beneficiary. To be eligible for this program, there are two requirements. You must have full Medicaid and be enrolled in Medicare. Since Medicaid is for low-income individuals, you must meet your state’s income level to qualify. Medicaid will then pay your deductibles, copay, and premiums for Part A and B. Your annual income in 2022 must be $7,730 as an individual and $11,600 for those married.

If your income is too high for the QMB program, other programs include the Qualifying Individual program and the Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary program. These asset limits are similar to the Qualified Medicare Beneficiary program. However, they only help cover your Part B premium and not the deductibles and copays.

When you choose to apply for these programs, you’ll need to file a different application than the Medicare application. You’ll also need to have documents with proof of income, like your Social Security benefits, pay stubs, or income tax returns.

Is Part A Free?

Although Part B is generally not free. Part A is free for many Medicare beneficiaries. Most beneficiaries would not pay the monthly premium if they or their spouse paid their Medicare taxes while working. You can receive premium-free Part A if you or your spouse have worked at least 40 quarters in the U.S. and paid FICA taxes.

Those who do not qualify for free Part A can purchase Part A. In 2022, the monthly premium will either be $274 or $499 a month. This depends on how long you or your spouse paid Medicare taxes and worked.

If you decide you do not want to purchase Part A, you can still purchase Part B. It is important to know that Part A and Part B each have their roles. Part A is for your inpatient insurance, and Part B is for your outpatient insurance.

Additional Medicare Benefits

If you are looking for additional coverage on top of your Part A and Part B coverage, there are Medicare supplemental plans for you to purchase. 

You can choose between a Medigap supplement or a Medicare Advantage plan. These additional Medicare plans provide you with a way to cover some out-of-pocket costs that you may encounter with Original Medicare. Original Medicare does not cover all medical costs. It is a common misconception to think that Medicare is free. After years of working and paying Medicare taxes, many believe that they would have free healthcare.


Medicare Part B is not free. However, Part A is free for most people. There are a few ways to get your Part B premiums covered if you meet specific income criteria. On top of Part A and Part B, there are also additional Medicare plans that you can pick up. These plans are generally not free either, but they can help cover out-of-pocket costs that may pop up. 

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Alex Wilson: Alex, a former tech industry executive, writes about the intersection of business and technology, covering everything from AI to digital transformation.

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