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Is Medicare automatically taken out of your Social Security check?

Medicare premiums are usually automatically deducted from your Social Security benefits. However, there are some circumstances where you may need to pay your Medicare premiums directly. Keep reading to learn more about how Medicare premium deductions work with Social Security.

Medicare Part A

Medicare Part A helps cover inpatient care in hospitals and skilled nursing facilities. Most people don’t pay a premium for Part A because they or their spouse paid Medicare taxes while working. In this case, you’ve earned Part A coverage.

If you aren’t eligible for premium-free Part A, you may be able to buy Part A if:

  • You’re 65 or older and you or your spouse worked and paid Medicare taxes for less than 30 quarters (7.5 years).
  • You’re under 65 and disabled but no longer qualify for premium-free Part A because you returned to work.
  • You’re not a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident and you meet certain requirements.

In these situations, your Part A premium won’t be deducted from your Social Security check. You’ll need to pay the premiums directly to Medicare.

Medicare Part B

Medicare Part B covers outpatient care like doctor visits, preventive services, lab tests, durable medical equipment, and more. Most people pay a monthly premium for Part B.

If you get Social Security benefits, your Part B premium is usually deducted from your benefit payment. The Social Security Administration deducts your premium before you get your check or direct deposit.

However, your Part B premium won’t be deducted from your Social Security benefits if:

  • Your Social Security check isn’t enough to cover the Part B premium. Medicare bills you directly for the premium in this case.
  • You enroll in Part B but haven’t started receiving Social Security benefits yet. You’ll pay the premiums directly until your Social Security payments start.
  • You have Part A premiums deducted from your Social Security, but not enough is left over to cover Part B. Medicare bills you for the remainder.

Medicare Advantage Plans

Medicare Advantage plans like HMOs and PPOs are an alternative to original Medicare. Many Advantage plans include prescription drug coverage.

If you join a Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll still need to continue paying your Part B premium. In most cases, this premium is deducted from your Social Security check.

However, some Medicare Advantage plans charge an additional monthly premium on top of the Part B premium. This additional premium can’t be deducted from your Social Security benefits.

For example, let’s say your Part B premium is $150 per month. This $150 is deducted from your Social Security payment. But your Medicare Advantage plan premium is $30 per month. You’d need to pay this $30 Advantage plan premium directly to your plan.

Medicare Part D

Original Medicare doesn’t cover most prescription drugs. To get Medicare drug coverage, you need to join a Part D prescription drug plan.

The Part D premium depends on the specific plan you select. Some plans charge no premium, while others charge over $100 per month.

If you choose a Part D plan with a premium, this cost can’t be deducted from your Social Security benefits. You need to pay your Part D plan premiums directly.

When premiums are billed directly

As mentioned above, there are situations where your Medicare premiums can’t be automatically deducted from your Social Security payments. Medicare bills you directly for your premiums in these cases.

You have a few options for paying premiums that Medicare bills directly:

  • Get billed monthly or quarterly. You’ll receive a bill in the mail from Medicare each month or quarter of the year. You then pay your premium for the applicable period.
  • Sign up for premium deduction from your bank account. Medicare can withdraw premium payments directly from your bank account each month. You’ll need to fill out a form to set this up.
  • Use your Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) check. Even if your premium can’t be deducted automatically, you can send in your Social Security or RRB check as payment. Just subtract the billed premium amount from your check and return it to Medicare with your payment coupon.
  • Pay online. Use Medicare’s online payment system to pay your premiums by credit/debit card or from your checking account.

When your Social Security check restarts

There are situations when your Social Security benefits may stop temporarily but restart again later:

  • You work while receiving Social Security before your full retirement age. Your benefits stop but then resume at full retirement age.
  • Your disability benefits stop when you reach full retirement age. Your payments then convert to retirement benefits.

If your Social Security benefits restart, Medicare can resume deducting your premiums automatically again in most cases. However, it may take Medicare up to 3 months to restart deductions after Social Security reinstates your payments.

During this transition period, Medicare continues billing you directly for premiums. Once deductions restart, Medicare stops sending bills since premiums are paid automatically again.

If you disagree with a deduction

If you notice a deduction on your Social Security check that you believe is incorrect, contact Medicare right away to dispute it. Make sure you have your Medicare card or Medicare number handy when you call.

If Medicare confirms the deduction is invalid, your premium refund should appear on a future Social Security payment. An incorrect deduction doesn’t mean you can stop paying valid Medicare premiums you owe.

Free help with Medicare costs

If you have limited income and resources, you may qualify for help paying for Medicare:

  • Medicare Savings Programs. This assistance pays for Medicare Part A and/or Part B premiums. You may qualify if you meet your state’s income and asset limits.
  • Extra Help. This program helps pay for prescription drug costs including Part D premiums, deductibles, and copays. You may qualify if you have limited income and assets.

To apply for assistance, contact your state Medicaid office or Social Security. Getting help with premiums means you don’t have to worry about deductions from your Social Security payments.

Key points

  • Medicare Part B premiums are usually deducted from your monthly Social Security benefits.
  • Part A, most Medicare Advantage, and Part D plan premiums can’t be deducted from Social Security.
  • If your premiums can’t be deducted, Medicare bills you directly instead.
  • Get in touch with Medicare if you think a deduction from your Social Security check is incorrect.
  • Assistance programs like Medicare Savings Programs and Extra Help can pay your premiums for you.


In most cases, your Medicare Part B premium is automatically deducted from your Social Security benefits. Other premiums like Part A or Part D can’t be taken out of your Social Security payment and need to be paid separately.

If you ever notice an error with the Medicare deductions from your Social Security check, be sure to contact Medicare right away to resolve the issue. You may also qualify for assistance programs to help cover your Medicare costs.