What do you pay in Medicare taxes? And what Medicare benefits can you expect? It's no secret that early generations of Social Security beneficiaries got benefits worth more than the taxes they had paid, although the most recent waves of retirees getting Social Security can make a stronger case that they have paid for their benefits. But let's leave Social Security aside for the moment to consider an even bigger problem of the same stripe. Past and current retirees, and most working-age adults, will never pay for all their Medicare benefits.