Medicare tax rate

The Medicare tax rate, often known as the "hospital insurance tax," is a federal employment tax that helps to support a component of the Medicare healthcare program. Medicare tax rate is deducted from an employee's paycheck or paid as a self-employment tax, similar to Social Security tax.

Part A of the Medicare program, which covers hospital insurance for adults 65 and older and those with certain impairments or medical conditions, is funded by the Medicare tax rate.

Hospitalization, hospice, nursing home care, and certain home treatment are all covered by Medicare hospital insurance.

The Medicare tax rate is a part of the federal payroll tax that pays for Medicare. About 63 million seniors and persons with disabilities have access to hospital care, skilled nursing, and hospice care thanks to the $284 billion in Medicare taxes paid each year.

In general, all employees in the United States are required to pay the tax on their wages. The tax is pooled together under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA), and you may see the Medicare and Social Security taxes merged as a single FICA deduction on your paycheck.

In 1966, the Medicare tax was enacted to address a healthcare issue. Because earnings often fall after retirement, and health-care expenditures can rise as people age, many seniors faced financial difficulties. There was also a problem with access since insurers were canceling some older people’s insurance due to their age, which made them a high risk to insure.

The Medicare program contains numerous components, but one of the most significant changes at the time was that the working people would be required to pay a new Medicare tax to fund Medicare hospital insurance.

How medicare tax works

The Medicare tax is split into two parts: you pay a piece as a deduction from your salary, and your employer pays the other half. As part of the payroll process, the deduction is made automatically.

The tax is based on “Medicare taxable earnings,” which are computed by taking your gross salary and subtracting pretax health care deductions such as medical insurance, dental, vision, and health savings.

As part of the IRS Company’s Tax Guide (Publication 15), your employer is obligated to collect the tax, and it must transmit both the employee and employer versions to the IRS via regular electronic deposits.

Self-employed people must pay a Medicare tax as part of their self-employment tax. It is paid in quarterly anticipated tax payments rather than being withdrawn from a paycheck.

Since 1986, the Medicare tax rate has been steady. However, as part of the Affordable Care Act, the Additional Medicare Tax for high-income individuals was established in 2013.

Medicare taxes must be paid by almost everyone who works in the United States. Employers are obligated to withhold Medicare and Social Security taxes from employees’ paychecks under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA). Self-employed employees must also pay Medicare and Social Security taxes as part of their self-employment tax, according to the Self-Employed Contributions Act (SECA).

The United States Treasury holds Medicare and Social Security revenues in trust funds. The Hospital Insurance Trust Fund holds the Medicare tax, which is used to pay for Medicare Part A. The Supplemental Medical Insurance Trust Fund, which is supported by premiums paid by beneficiaries and tax revenue, covers the costs of Medicare Part B (medical insurance) and Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage).

The funds will be utilized to help both present and future Medicare recipients. According to the 2021 Trustees Report, the Hospital Insurance Trust Fund has been under solvency and budget problems and is likely to be drained by 2026. 7 If this occurs, Medicare programs may be reduced, or Congress may find alternative methods to fund these benefits.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020 enhanced the Medicare program to include treatment for COVID-19 pandemic victims. This includes enhanced Medicare payments for COVID-19-related hospital stays and durable medical devices.

What is the Medicare tax used for?

The Medicare tax supports Medicare Part A, which provides health insurance to adults 65 and older, as well as those with disabilities or certain medical conditions. Part A of Medicare, generally known as hospital insurance, pays for inpatient hospital stays, skilled nursing care, hospice, and some home health services.

The Medicare tax contributes 88 percent of the total income generated by Medicare Part A.

Medicare part A total revenue

88 percent ($284 billion) Medicare payroll tax

Other sources of funding: 12 percent ($39 billion) from taxes, premiums, transfers, and interest.

All Medicare Part A money goes into the Hospital Insurance (HI) trust fund, which is progressively depleting since associated healthcare spending has usually outpaced the fund’s annual earnings. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicted in 2021 that the HI trust fund will be drained by 2026.

What is the purpose of the additional Medicare tax?

Despite its name, the Additional Medicare Tax, which is paid by high-income taxpayers, is utilized by the IRS to offset the expenses of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

In 2021, an estimated $12.3 billion will be paid on employee earnings of more than $200,000. These monies are used to carry out the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, such as giving health insurance tax credits to help more than 9 million Americans afford health insurance.

What’s the current Medicare tax rate?

The Medicare tax rate will be 2.9 percent in 2022, and it will be distributed evenly between employers and workers. W-2 employees pay 1.45% of their wages, with their employer covering the remaining 1.45%. Self-employed people must pay the entire 2.9 percent because they are both an employee and an employer. Unlike the Social Security tax, the Medicare tax has no upper-income cap.

The Medicare tax is levied on an individual’s Medicare earnings. Earned income, such as salary, tips, vacation allowances, bonuses, commissions, and other taxable benefits, is normally included up to $200,000 as of 2022.

Surtaxes on medicare

To support Medicare expansion, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) imposed two Medicare surtaxes in 2013: the extra Medicare tax and the net investment income tax. Both surtaxes are imposed on high-income people and apply to distinct sorts of income. It is conceivable for a taxpayer to be charged both Medicare and Social Security surtaxes.

Extra Medicare taxes

Individuals whose earned income—including wages, compensation, and self-employment income—exceeds specific criteria are subject to an extra Medicare tax. Individuals earning more than $200,000 and married couples filing jointly earning more than $250,000, for example, are liable to an extra Medicare levy.

The Medicare supplement tax rate is 0.9 percent. The additional 0.9 percent applies solely to income that exceeds the taxpayer’s threshold limit. 9 For example, if you earn $225,000 per year, the first $200,000 is subject to a 1.45 percent Medicare tax, while the remaining $25,000 is subject to a 0.9 percent Medicare tax.

The surtax is taken from an employee’s paycheck or paid with self-employment taxes, much as the original Medicare tax. The extra Medicare tax, on the other hand, is not covered by the employer, thus the employee is responsible for the entire 0.9 percent.

Tax on net investment income

As of 2021, an extra 3.8 percent tax on net investment income, popularly known as the “unearned income Medicare contribution surtax,” would be imposed. There is no employer-paid share, much as the supplementary Medicare levy.

Taxable interest, dividends, nonqualified annuities, capital gains, and rental income are all examples of net investment income. It excludes income that is already exempt from income taxation, such as interest on tax-free municipal bonds. 10 The net investment income tax is imposed on a person’s net investment income or the excess modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) over specific levels, whichever is lower.

Let’s imagine a married couple filed jointly and earned $225,000 in earnings. The couple additionally got $50,000 in investment income during the same tax year, increasing their MAGI to $275,000. For married couples filing jointly, the net investment income tax threshold is $250,000. The pair must pay a tax of 3.8 percent on the lesser of their excess MAGI ($25,000) or their total investment income ($50,000). The pair would owe $950 in net investment income tax (3.8 percent x $25,000) in this situation.

FICA tax calculator

You’re probably subject to Federal Insurance Contributions Act taxes if you earn an income or salary. FICA taxes, which are not to be confused with federal income taxes, help to pay for Social Security and Medicare. FICA taxes are taken automatically from your paycheck and are also known as payroll taxes. The money is sent to the government by your employer, together with a match (an additional 7.65% of your wage).

The basics of FICA taxes

Your company deducts a percentage of your compensation every payday. The government receives this money in the form of payroll taxes. Unemployment taxes, income taxes, and FICA taxes are among the several forms of payroll taxes. FICA taxes are made up of two sorts of taxes: Medicare taxes and Social Security taxes.

The Federal Insurance Contributions Act requires most employees and companies to pay FICA taxes. Both Social Security and Medicare are paid using the proceeds.

You’re also liable for paying Social Security and Medicare taxes if you operate a business. Based on restrictions included in the Self-Employed Contributions Act, they’re referred to as SECA taxes (or self-employment taxes) for self-employed employees.

Rates of FICA contributions

Since their inception, both the SECA and FICA tax rates have risen. Employee and employer Social Security tax rates remained below 3% until the end of 1959. Medicare tax rates increased from 0.35 percent in 1966 to 1.35 percent in 1985, when they were initially established.

FICA tax rates, on the other hand, have remained stable throughout the last few decades. The tax is shared between employers and employees. The current Social Security and Medicare tax rates are 6.2 percent and 1.45 percent, respectively, for each of them. So, for a total FICA payment of 15.3 percent, each partner – employee and employer – pays 7.65 percent of their income. You may compute your FICA tax burden by multiplying your gross earnings by 7.65%.

Self-employed individuals are responsible for paying the whole FICA tax on their own. There is a 12.4 percent Social Security tax plus a 2.9 percent Medicare tax for these people. You can pay this tax when you pay your quarterly estimated taxes. You may use the IRS’s worksheet and instructions for Form 1040-ES to calculate how much you owe.

If you’re self-employed, you’ll be able to deduct half of the tax (7.65 percent) when filing your taxes. The self-employment tax deduction is an additional deduction that you can use to reduce your taxable income. As a result, you may claim it whether you itemize your deductions or take the standard deduction.

Wage base limits for FICA tax

Employees who pay Social Security taxes are subject to a wage base restriction. This indicates that gross income beyond a specific level is not subject to the tax. Inflation-adjusted salary limits alter practically every year. It was $142,800 in 2021. The maximum was raised to $147,000 in 2022. This is also the maximum amount of money that is taken into account when determining the size of Social Security payments.

Medicare taxes, on the other hand, have no upper limit on earnings. However, high-income persons must pay an Additional Medicare Tax. Since January 1, 2013, this has been the situation.

The Additional Medicare Tax applies to employees (and self-employed workers’) earnings, salaries, and tips at a rate of 0.90 percent. As a result, any portion of your income over a particular level is taxed at a total rate of 2.35 percent (1.45 percent + 0.90 percent) for Medicare. For 2021 and 2022, the income maximum is $200,000 for single filers, qualified widows, and anybody filing as the head of household; $250,000 for married couples filing joint returns, and $125,000 for married couples filing separate returns. Form 8959 can be used to figure out how much you owe.

Exemptions from FICA

Residents and many nonresident aliens alike pay FICA taxes. Working part-time or full-time makes no difference. There are a few exceptions to this rule.

College students, for example, are not required to pay FICA taxes on earnings earned from on-campus jobs. Nonresident foreigners, such as foreign government personnel and teachers, are also eligible for exemptions. By completing IRS Form 4029, certain religious organizations (such as the Amish) can request a FICA tax exemption. They give up their right to Medicare and Social Security benefits if they do not pay these payroll taxes.

FICA taxes paid In excess

Some employees contribute more to Social Security than is required. If you change occupations more than once and all of your earnings are taxed, this might happen (even if your combined income exceeds the Social Security wage base limit). Fortunately, when you submit your taxes, you may be eligible for a return.

You can claim the Social Security overpayment on Form 1040 if you have numerous employment. If you owe taxes, the IRS will deduct a portion of your refund to cover the debt. After that, you’ll get whatever is leftover. If you overpaid Social Security taxes and only have one employee, you must request a reimbursement from your employer. Because there is no way to get a refund on excess Medicare tax payments, they aren’t refundable.

Is there a cap on Medicare tax

The Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) levy is made up of two parts: Social Security and Medicare. Collectively, FICA taxes amount to 15.3% of wages in 2021 and 2022. It is divided into two parts: 12.4 percent of earned income up to an annual maximum must be paid into Social Security, and another 2.9 percent must be paid into Medicare.

The Medicare share of the tax has no income restriction (or salary base limit), which means you owe your half of the 2.9 percent tax on all earnings received for the year, regardless of how much money you make. The Social Security tax, on the other hand, has a wage-based restriction, which implies that there is a maximum wage that is taxed for that year.

The Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) levy is used to collect Social Security and Medicare payroll withholding. The income tax restriction does not apply to Medicare taxes, but there is a wage-based limit on Social Security taxes. The limitation restricts the amount of Social Security taxes that high earners must pay each year. Income tax limitations, according to critics, disproportionately favor high-income earners over low-income taxpayers. Others say that lifting the cap would amount to one of the highest tax increases in history.

Medicare taxes and the affordable care act

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) imposed an additional Medicare levy on high-income individuals. The Additional Medicare Tax is the name for this surtax. Anyone earning more than $200,000 ($250,000 for married couples filing jointly) must pay an extra 0.9 percent in Medicare taxes on top of the usual 1.45 percent starting in January 2013. The employee is responsible for the whole 0.9 percent. There is no division between the employer and the employee.

Your Medicare tax rate is 2.35 percent if your income qualifies you for the Additional Medicare Tax. This Medicare surtax, however, only applies if your income exceeds $200,000. If you earn $250,000 per year, you’ll pay a Medicare tax of 1.45 percent on the first $200,000 and 2.35 percent on the remaining $50,000.

The Net Investment Income Tax is another effect of the Affordable Care Act regulations (NIIT). The NIIT, or Unearned Income Medicare Contribution Surtax, is a 3.8 percent Medicare tax that applies to investment income as well as ordinary income beyond a specified threshold. You may be liable to the NIIT if your Modified Adjusted Gross Income exceeds $200,000 ($250,000 if married and filing jointly). Dividends, interest, passive income, annuities, royalties, and capital gains are all examples of investment income that is subject to the NIIT.

The 3.8 percent tax is imposed on the lesser of your net investment income or the amount by which your MAGI exceeds $200,000 (or $250,000 if you file jointly). As a result, the NIIT is either an additional income tax or an additional capital tax.

A taxpayer may be subject to both the Additional Medicare Tax and the NIIT, according to the IRS, but not on the same categories of income. Because the 0.9 percent Additional Medicare Tax applies to salaries, compensation, and self-employment income over $200,000, but not to net investment income, this is the case.

Why do you have to pay a Medicare tax?

The Hospital Insurance (HI) Trust Fund is supported by the Medicare levy. It’s one of two Medicare trust funds that pay for the program.

Medicare Part A benefits, such as inpatient hospitalization, skilled nursing facility care, home health care, and hospice care, are paid for by the HI Trust Fund. It also covers the costs of running the Medicare program. It pays for the expenses of combating Medicare fraud and abuse, as well as the costs of collecting Medicare taxes and disbursing benefits.

The second type of insurance is Supplementary Medical Insurance. The trust fund receives money from Congress as well as interest from its investments. It covers Part B and Part D prescription medication coverage under Medicare.

Additional Medicare tax

People who earn more than a certain amount of money in a given year are subject to the Additional Medicare Tax.

Since 2013, the IRS has required higher-income individuals to contribute more to Medicare. The Additional Medicare Tax, which was introduced as part of the Affordable Care Act, is a new tax.

The Additional Medicare Tax has a 0.9 percent tax rate. If you get employment wages, you will pay 2.35 percent. Taxpayers who are self-employed will pay 3.8 percent. Wages, self-employment, and other pay, including Railroad Retirement (RRTA) compensation, are all included in the IRS’s calculation of income.

If you’re required to pay this tax, your employer can deduct it from your paychecks, or you can make annual projected payments to the IRS.

Is this a levy that everyone on Medicare has to pay?

While everyone pays some Medicare taxes, you’ll only pay the extra tax if your income is at or over the threshold. If your income falls below specified thresholds, you will not be obliged to pay any additional taxes. If your income is close to the threshold, you may be able to avoid paying the tax by making use of certain pre-tax deductions, such as:

FSAs, HSAs, and retirement accounts are all types of flexible spending accounts.

However, you’ll still have to pay the regular 1.45% tax. The normal Medicare tax amount has no income restriction.

What is the formula for calculating the Additional Medicare Tax?

Medicare is funded by donations from the general public to the Social Security Administration. The Federal Insurance Contributions Act requires workers to contribute 1.45 percent of their total wages (FICA). Employers contribute another 1.45%, bringing your total earnings to 2.9 percent. Self-employed persons are responsible for the whole 2.9 percent tax.

The Additional Medicare Tax is imposed on those who earn a certain amount of money. These are the levels for the 2021 tax year:

$200,000 and over for single tax filers

$250,000 and above for married couples filing jointly

$125,000 and above for married couples filing separately.

$200,000 and over for head of household tax filers

Employers must withhold an extra 0.9 percent for employees whose incomes are at or above these thresholds. If you have other sources of income that will send you above the limit, you can ask your employer to deduct that amount from your paychecks. Self-employed taxpayers who are close to or over the limitations must factor this computation into their annual anticipated tax payments.

You’ll compute your Additional Medicare Tax obligation for the year when you file your taxes. You may owe more in certain circumstances, and you may have paid too much in others. Any outstanding payments or refund adjustments will be added to your total necessary payment or refund.

You’ll be taxed on the portion of your income that exceeds the threshold. You’ll only have to pay the extra tax if your total exceeds that amount. For example, if you’re a single taxpayer with a $250,000 salary, you’ll pay 1.45 percent on the first $200,000 of your income and 2.35 percent on the remaining $50,000. As a result, you’d pay $4,075 in Medicare taxes for the year in this scenario.

Medicare tax for self-employed workers

You are responsible for the whole 2.9 percent portion of your earned income for the Medicare tax if you are self-employed. Self-employment (SE) tax is used to cover this. The self-employment tax pays your 15.3 percent part of FICA taxes, which includes Social Security and Medicare.

You could, however, gain a reprieve.

IRS Schedule SE on Form 1040 or 1040-SR is used to calculate your SE tax. The employer-equivalent amount of your self-employed tax — half of the total amount — can then be deducted from your gross income.


Your take-home pay is severely impacted by the combination of Social Security and Medicare tax rates, as well as income tax taken from your paycheck. The employee portion of Social Security and Medicare taxes is now 7.65%. Remember to include in the Additional Medicare Tax if your income exceeds $200,000. Although it may appear to be a lot of bother today, all of this tax withholding is meant to provide you with a safety net when you retire.

Charles Bains

Charles Bains

Charles Bains started his insurance career as a marketing intern before pounding the pavement as a commercial lines agent in Orlando, FL. As an industry journalist, his articles have appeared in a variety of trade publications. His insurance television career, short-lived but glorious, once saw him serve as the expert adviser on an insurance-themed infomercial (yes, you read that correctly). Having recently worked for various organizations, coupled with his broader insurance knowledge, Charles is able to understand our client’s needs and guide them accordingly. He is a gem for Insurance Noon as his wide area of expertise and experience have been beneficial in conducting further researches to come up with solutions and writing them in a manner which is easy for everyone including beginners to comprehend.