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Is there a recommended way to pay monthly Medicare Part D premiums?


Not really.  Depending on your chosen Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan, your monthly premium payment options may include:
  • Social Security check deduction,
  • Bank Draft (Electronic Funds Transfer or EFT),
  • Credit Card payment,
  • Direct Billing, or
  • Coupon Book paid with a personal check.
Each payment options has some positive (and not-so-positive characteristics).

The popular automatic Social Security check payment

Social Security check deductions are perhaps the most popular form of premium payment - especially back when the Part D program first started.  Even now, automatic SS check deductions seem the simplest premium payment solution.

But, when will the premium deductions begin from my Social Security check?

Many people find that Social Security check deductions do not begin for several months after the start of a new Medicare plan year or when changing plan enrollment.  And it is possible that all of the unpaid premium were taken at one time - leaving some people without enough money in their Social Security check for the entire month.

We even heard from some people who had not seen a Social Security check deduction for up to ten months - with all ten premiums being paid in one month and accounting for a huge portion of the person's Social Security check.

As noted, when people changed plans, they sometimes found that it took Social Security a number of months into the new plan year to adjust to the new plan premium--causing the old Medicare plan premiums to be credited back and new Medicare plans premiums to be paid out - all at one time.

Getting a direct bill from your Medicare plan while waiting for your Social Security payments to begin

In past year, some people who chose to pay premiums with automatic Social Security deductions found that their Medicare plans sent them a direct bill for the first few months of the new plan year - and then began Social Security deductions - or required the plan member to then choose the Social Security payment options when the plan started.

Your plan will have a "default" payment method

As noted, if you did not choose a method to pay your monthly premiums, your plan may have assumed that you wish to have Social Security check deductions.  But, some Medicare Part D plans now have chosen another "default" method of paying besides Social Security check deductions.  For instance, if you do not choose a payment method, some plans will automatically send you a monthly bill or assume that you wish to receive a coupon book for making payments.

Premium Coupon Books: the good and the bad

Many people choose the coupon payment book option when paying their monthly premiums because they have a monthly reminder that premiums need to be paid - and some people use a coupon book payment to pay all 12 monthly premiums at one time to ensure that the payments are made for the year.

On the other hand, the trouble with coupon books is that some people simply forget to make their monthly payments (or lose their coupon books or have personal issues that arise that distract them from sending in the coupon and payment) and find themselves involuntarily disenrolled from their Part D plan a few months into their annual coverage period.

Credit Card or Electronic Bank Payment

Some Medicare beneficiaries recommend paying monthly Medicare Part D premiums with a Credit Card or Bank Draft (EFT) to best control their personal budget - and they can then retain control should they wish to stop payments for some reason.

However, other people are not comfortable with a Medicare Part D plan charging their credit cards or taking money directly from their checking or savings account, especially when they need to watch their balances closely to ensure that they have enough money in their accounts to cover other monthly payments.

Changing your mind about premium payment methods

The good news is that you can always contact your Medicare plan's Member Services department and ask to change to another payment option.  Please remember that changing payment options may not be automatic and the process may take several weeks or longer until your newly chosen payment option is confirmed.

You can contact your Medicare plan for more information (the toll-free telephone number is on your Member ID card and most of your plan's printed information and your plan's website).

If you cannot find your Member ID card with the number for Member Services, we also have most Medicare plan Member Services numbers online if you click on the plan name using our Medicare Advantage Plan Finder or Medicare Part D Plan Finder.





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Tips & Disclaimers
  • The Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug plan data on our site comes directly from Medicare and is subject to change.
  • Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed the information on our site.
  • We provide our Q1Medicare.com site for educational purposes and strive to present unbiased and accurate information. However, Q1Medicare is not intended as a substitute for your lawyer, doctor, healthcare provider, financial advisor, or pharmacist. For more information on your Medicare coverage, please be sure to seek legal, medical, pharmaceutical, or financial advice from a licensed professional or telephone Medicare at 1-800-633-4227.
  • We are an independent education, research, and technology company. We are not affiliated with any Medicare plan, plan carrier, healthcare provider, or insurance company. We are not compensated for Medicare plan enrollments. We do not sell leads or share your personal information.
  • Benefits, formulary, pharmacy network, provider network, premium and/or co-payments/co-insurance may change on January 1 of each year. Our PDP-Compare.com and MA-Compare.com provide highlights of annual plan benefit changes.
  • The benefit information provided is a brief summary, not a complete description of benefits. For more information contact the plan.
  • Limitations, copayments, and restrictions may apply.
  • We make every effort to show all available Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plans in your service area. However, since our data is provided by Medicare, it is possible that this may not be a complete listing of plans available in your service area. For a complete listing please contact 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048), 24 hours a day/7 days a week or consult www.medicare.gov.
  • When enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan, you must continue to pay your Medicare Part B premium.
  • Medicare beneficiaries with higher incomes may be required to pay both a Medicare Part B and Medicare Part D Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA). Read more on IRMAA.
  • Medicare Advantage plans that include prescription drug coverage (MAPDs) are considered Medicare Part D plans and members with higher incomes may be subject to the Medicare Part D Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA), just as members in stand-alone Part D plans. In certain situations, you can appeal IRMAA.
  • You must be enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. Members may enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan only during specific times of the year. Contact the Medicare plan for more information.
  • If you are enrolled in a Medicare plan with Part D prescription drug coverage, you may be eligible for financial Extra Help to assist with the payment of your prescription drug premiums and drug purchases. To see if you qualify for Extra Help, call: 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048, 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week or consult www.medicare.gov; the Social Security Office at 1-800-772-1213 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. TTY users should call, 1-800-325-0778; or your state Medicaid Office.
  • Medicare evaluates plans based on a 5-Star rating system. Star Ratings are calculated each year and may change from one year to the next.
  • A Medicare Advantage Private Fee-for-Service plan (PFFS) is not a Medicare supplement plan. Providers who do not contract with the plan are not required to see you except in an emergency.
  • Disclaimer for Institutional Special Needs Plan (SNP): This plan is available to anyone with Medicare who meets the Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) level of care and resides in a nursing home.
  • Disclaimer for Dual Eligible (Medicare/Medicaid) Special Needs Plan (SNP): This plan is available to anyone who has both Medical Assistance from the State and Medicare. Premiums, co-pays, co-insurance, and deductibles may vary based on the level of Extra Help you receive. Please contact the plan for further details.
  • Disclaimer for Chronic Condition Special Needs Plan (SNP): This plan is available to anyone with Medicare who has been diagnosed with the plan specific Chronic Condition.
  • Medicare MSA Plans combine a high deductible Medicare Advantage Plan and a trust or custodial savings account (as defined and/or approved by the IRS). The plan deposits money from Medicare into the account. You can use this money to pay for your health care costs, but only Medicare-covered expenses count toward your deductible. The amount deposited is usually less than your deductible amount, so you generally have to pay out-of-pocket before your coverage begins.
  • Medicare MSA Plans do not cover prescription drugs. If you join a Medicare MSA Plan, you can also join any separate (stand-alone) Medicare Part D prescription drug plan
  • There are additional restrictions to join an MSA plan, and enrollment is generally for a full calendar year unless you meet certain exceptions. Those who disenroll during the calendar year will owe a portion of the account deposit back to the plan. Contact the plan provider for additional information.
  • Medicare beneficiaries may enroll through the CMS Medicare Online Enrollment Center located at www.medicare.gov.
  • Medicare beneficiaries can file a complaint with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services by calling 1-800-MEDICARE 24 hours a day/7 days or using the medicare.gov site. Beneficiaries can appoint a representative by submitting CMS Form-1696.