Medicare Part A is free if you:

  • Have at least 40 calendar quarters of work in any job where you paid Social Security taxes in the U.S.
  • Are eligible for Railroad Retirement benefits
  • Or, have a spouse that qualifies for premium-free Part A

You may also be eligible for premium-free Part A if you were a federal employee anytime after December 31, 1982, or a state or local employee anytime after March 31, 1986.

If you do not meet the criteria above, you will likely pay a monthly premium for Part A. Your monthly Part A premium will depend on how many years you or your spouse worked in any job at which you paid Social Security taxes in the U.S.

In 2018, your monthly Part A premium will be:
$0 If you or your spouse worked for 40 quarters (10 years) or more or you were a federal employee on January 1, 1983, or a state or local employee anytime after March 31, 1986.
$232 If you or your spouse worked between 30 and 39 quarters (7.5 and 10 years)
$422 If you or your spouse worked fewer than 30 quarters (7.5 years)

If your income is low, you may be eligible for the Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) program, which pays for your Medicare Part A and B premiums and other Medicare costs.