Private Health Insurance vs. Medicare: Which Is Better for You?

When comparing private health insurance vs. Medicare, the most significant differences are benefits and costs. Private health insurance may provide some of the same services as Medicare but with extras such as vision or dental. Compare private health insurance vs. Medicare costs by getting private health insurance and Medicare Advantage quotes.

Ready to compare quick life insurance quotes?

Your life insurance quotes are always free.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

Full Bio →

Written by

Benjamin Carr was a licensed insurance agent in Georgia and has two years' experience in life, health, property and casualty coverage. He has worked with State Farm and other risk management firms. He is also a strategic writer and editor with a background in branding, marketing, and quality assurance. He has been in military newsrooms — literally on the frontline of journalism.

Full Bio →

Reviewed by Benji Carr
Former Licensed Life Insurance Agent Benji Carr

UPDATED: May 12, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right life insurance coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident life insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We are not affiliated with any one life insurance company and cannot guarantee quotes from any single company.

Our life insurance industry partnerships don’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own. To compare quotes from many different life insurance companies please enter your ZIP code above to use the free quote tool. The more quotes you compare, the more chances to save.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about life insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything life insurance-related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by life insurance experts.

Quick Facts

  • Medicare is a type of health insurance that is provided by the government, while a private company offers private health insurance
  • Medicare Parts A and B cover a wide variety of inpatient and outpatient healthcare services, but private health insurance, including Medicare Advantage plans, may provide more benefits, such as vision or dental
  • The cost of private health insurance will vary by company, so it’s easier to compare the prices of private health insurance vs. Medicare if you search for private health insurance quotes

When searching for health insurance, senior individuals can choose between Medicare and private health insurance. The most significant factors deciding between the two are finances and medical needs. There will be differences in benefits and costs when comparing private health insurance vs. Medicare.

Read more below to get Medicare and private health insurance definitions with an overview of the differences in benefits and costs. We hope this will help get you closer to deciding between private health insurance and Medicare.

Enter your ZIP code into our free quote comparison tool above to find private health insurance and Medicare Advantage plans.

What is the difference between private health insurance and Medicare?

Medicare is a type of health insurance provided by the U.S. government, while private companies provide private health insurance. Private health insurance companies may also offer Medicare Advantage plans or Medicare Supplement plans on behalf of the government. In addition, some employers offer private health insurance to their employees.

Medicare is typically available to Americans who are 65 and over. You can use Medicare anywhere that Medicare is accepted, consisting of an extensive network of healthcare providers.

Private health insurance providers generally contract with a limited number of healthcare providers. If you have an HMO, your health insurance provider will only cover services done with the healthcare providers in their network. PPO plans tend to cover more providers and have out-of-network coverage as well, although it may be limited.

Ready to compare quick life insurance quotes?

Your life insurance quotes are always free.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Your life insurance quotes are always free.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

How does private health insurance vs. Medicare benefits compare?

Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) will cover most healthcare services, including inpatient and outpatient care. For example, Part A will cover hospital stays, hospice care, lab tests, surgeries, and more. Part B will cover doctor’s visits, preventative services, durable medical equipment, and more. In addition, Medicare Part D plans cover prescription drugs.

Medicare Advantage plans, offered by private health insurance companies, will include all the benefits provided by Original Medicare. However, most private health insurance companies will also have other benefits, such as vision, dental, or prescription drug coverage. While the benefits are similar to Medicare, the network is likely more similar to private health insurance.

Private health insurance may offer coverage similar to Medicare Advantage plans, but each company will have its coverage limits. In addition, the network and covered services may differ. For example, the company could limit how many times or how often you can receive a certain service.

How does private health insurance vs. Medicare costs compare?

Costs for private health insurance vs. Medicare will vary based on several factors. The average premium for private health insurance plans is $22,221 per year for families and $7,739 per year for individuals. However, if you purchase private health insurance through your employer, the average premium is $5,969 after your employer pays their portion.

Most people do not have to pay a premium for Medicare Part A, but those who do need to pay a premium will pay $274 or $499 per month in 2022. The average premium for Medicare Part B is $170.10 per month. However, individuals who make more than $91,000 per year could pay a premium between $238.10 and $578.30 per month. The average premium for Medicare Part D is $33.37 per month, but you must buy it in addition to other Medicare plans.

The deductible for Medicare Part A is $1,556, while the deductible for Medicare Part B is $233 in 2022. You will also be responsible for paying coinsurance for each. The coinsurance for Medicare Part A will depend on how long you receive treatment, while the coinsurance for Part B is typically 20% of the Medicare-Approved amount for a service.

Out-of-pocket costs and limits will vary for private health insurance plans. However, Medicare Advantage plans from private health insurance companies have an out-of-pocket maximum of $8,700 for one person and $17,400 for a family in 2022.

Should I get private health insurance or Medicare?

Some people may benefit more from Medicare, while others may find private health insurance more suitable. One of the first considerations is your age. If you are under 65, you most likely won’t qualify for Medicare unless diagnosed with a specific condition, such as end-stage renal disease. Therefore, you may be more likely to buy private health insurance.

Private health insurance may also be a better choice for dependents since Medicare is generally only available for individuals. For example, private health insurance allows you to get coverage for your children or spouse.

Some people may also have both Medicare and private health insurance. In these cases, Medicare will establish a primary and secondary payer, where the primary payer is responsible for paying claims first, and the secondary payer will cover the rest. If you have both private health insurance and Medicare, you can contact either company to determine your primary payer.

If you want to compare private health insurance quotes, including Medicare Advantage coverage, enter your ZIP code into our free quote comparison tool below.

Ready to compare quick life insurance quotes?

Your life insurance quotes are always free.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

QuickQuote is a BBB Accredited Business. BBB