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What is Medicare Part B?
Medicare Part B covers a wide range of medical services not covered during inpatient treatment. In this way, Part B picks up coverage where Part A’s hospital care ends. It is part of what is referred to as Original Medicare, which is the traditional service offered by the federal government and consists of Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Medicare Part B (medical insurance).
Part B is optional, but if you rely on Medicare for primary coverage, then it is strongly recommended in order to ensure full coverage of your health care needs. Even if you have private insurance and do not rely on Medicare, you can use Part B in coordination with your coverage to reduce spending.
Who is Eligible for Medicare Part B?
If you are eligible for Medicare Part A, then you are eligible for Part B coverage, which is optional and carries a monthly premium for enrollees. If you are already enrolled in Social Security benefits, Medicare will deduct the Part B premium from your Social Security check. If this does not apply to you, then Medicare will bill you quarterly.
Enrolling in Medicare Part B
If you are already taking Social Security income benefits you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part B. Your Medicare card will arrive by mail in the months before your 65th birthday.
If you receive Social Security benefits but do not want Medicare Part B coverage, you can return the card and the premium will not be deducted from your Social Security checks. It is important to notify them of this decision, however, otherwise they will deduct the premium by default.
If you wish to enroll in Part B, it is important that you do so during your initial enrollment period, which takes place in the three months prior to your turning 65. Enrolling early ensures that there are no gaps in your coverage. Missing the initial enrollment locks you out of Part B coverage until the next enrollment period. General enrollment for Medicare Parts A and B falls between January 1 and March 31.
Additionally, if you don’t enroll during the initial period, the Part B monthly premium will continue to increase until your eventual enrollment, should you choose to at a later time. The premium increases 10 percent for every year that you don’t enroll while eligible.
Medicare Part B Coverage & Benefits
Part B covers many of the more expensive services that can occur during your hospital stay. This includes procedures like surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, dialysis, diagnostic imaging, among others. Part B includes many preventive medical services such as doctor visits, ambulance rides, screenings, and diagnostic tests. It also covers preventative care like colonoscopies, mammograms, flu shots, and in some cases chiropractic care.
Medically Necessary Services:
These are the services and supplies used for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions within standard medical practice. Also included are medical equipment, such as wheelchairs, hospital beds, and oxygen equipment.
This refers to health care that either prevents illness or detects it at the earliest stage possible for optimal treatment. In most cases, you will not have to pay anything for preventive services if your health care provider agrees to accept the payment amount Medicare approves for the service.
Diagnostic tests included are MRIs, CT scans, EKGs, and X-rays. Covered screenings often include pap tests, HIV screening, glaucoma tests, hearing tests, diabetes screening, and colorectal cancer screenings.
A licensed agent can help you determine if Part B fits your current needs. Connect directly with one of our agents to learn more with no obligation.
Medicare Part B Costs
For 2019, the Part B annual deductible is $185. Once this deductible is met, you will pay 20% of the Medicare approved covered services.
In most cases, the Part B monthly premium is $135.50 for new enrollees. However, if your income exceeds $85,000 (or $170,000 for married couples), then your monthly premium will cost more. Medicare uses the modified adjusted gross income from your tax return of two years ago to calculate your monthly premium.
If you need help enrolling into Medicare Part B, connect with one of our trusted agents to learn more We love assisting with your Medicare needs and ensuring that our clients make the best available choices. Prefer to speak by phone? We find it much easier. Give us a call today!