Medicare Will Not Cover These 9 Medical Costs

Updated: Jul 29

Turning 65 brings access to senior discounts galore, but there is no benefit of senior citizenship quite like Medicare.

The federal program extends subsidized health insurance primarily to folks age 65 and older. But, while Medicare coverage comes with numerous freebies, it is hardly free.

Medicare beneficiaries pay into the system via taxes withheld from their pay during their working years. Additionally, Medicare coverage is not all-inclusive: Beneficiaries must cover all or part of certain medical expenses.

If you are on Medicare, you already know that — perhaps painfully well. But the costs associated with coverage can come as a surprise to folks who have yet to sign up for Medicare.

So, here’s a look at some of the most expensive, most common and most surprising health care costs that Medicare does not cover.

Costs with Original Medicare versus Medicare Advantage

When talking about Medicare benefits, it’s important to note that your out-of-pocket costs will vary depending on your coverage type. There are two main types of Medicare:

Original Medicare (aka traditional Medicare), which is offered directly by the federal government’s Medicare program Medicare Advantage plans (aka Medicare Part C plans), which are offered by private insurers that are approved by the Medicare program

Medicare Advantage plans must cover all the same services that Original Medicare covers. Some Medicare Advantage plans cover other expenses, too.

So, as you read on, remember that some of the following costs may not apply with certain Medicare Advantage plans.

1. Care you receive outside the U.S.

For many, retirement is a perfect time to see the world. Just be sure you first understand what your insurance will and won’t cover when you travel.

With a few limited exceptions, Original Medicare does not pay for health care that you receive while traveling outside of the United States or its territories. Medicare prescription drug plans — which are supplemental plans that people with Original Medicare can opt to buy — don’t cover prescriptions you buy outside of the U.S., either.

2. Premiums

You might be surprised to learn that even federally subsidized health insurance can have premiums, but that is the case with Medicare.

For 2022, the monthly premium for Part B — the component of Medicare plans that primarily covers services you receive outside of a hospital — is $170.10 or more, depending on your income. Usually, this premium is deducted from your Social Security benefits check.

Seniors with Medicare Advantage usually pay a premium for their plan in addition to the Part B premium.