Medicare Part B is the medical coverage that gives you access to a variety of outpatient services. Among these are doctor’s visits, laboratory testing, advanced imaging such as MRI or CT scans. Part B also covers preventive care including flu shots, colonoscopies, mammograms and more.
Finally, Medicare Part also covers more expensive services like radiation or chemotherapy for cancer, surgeries, medical equipment, and even dialysis for failing kidneys. Part B is optional, but if Medicare is your primary coverage, you definitely need Part B. You also cannot get Medigap supplemental coverage without it.
How much will I pay for Medicare Part B?
You must pay a monthly premium for your Medicare Part B benefits. The majority of Americans will pay the standard monthly amount set by the government. In 2017, the base rate for Part B is $134/month for people new to Medicare. However, you may owe more if your income is above a certain level.
You can find a chart showing the costs based on your income bracket on our Medicare costs page. If you enroll late into Part B, you may also have to pay a penalty for life. It’s important not to miss your enrollment window whenever you retire and lose access to your employer group health insurance.
How do I sign up for Part B?
Applying for Medicare Part B can be done online, over the phone or in person at your local Social Security office. After you apply, it will take 2 – 3 weeks before your card will arrive, so you should plan to apply several weeks prior to when you will need the coverage For more information on each of these application options, visit our Apply for Medicare page.
What Doesn’t Part B Cover?
Part B does not pay for hospital expenses covered by Part A. It also does not cover cosmetic procedures, routine dental, vision or hearing, or routine foot care. It also does not cover drugs that you pick up yourself at a retail pharmacy. For those you will need a Part D drug plan.
What is my cost sharing under Medicare Part B?
You will pay a percentage of the costs of your medically-necessary Part B services. Generally, these costs are:
- the annual Medicare Part B deductible (in 2017, this is $183)
- 20% of the remaining costs, with no limits or cap
- any excess charges that a provider or facility may charge beyond what Medicare reimburses
What is most significant is the 20% that you will owe for outpatient medical care. For services like surgeries or chemotherapy, your expenses can add up to thousands of dollars. There is no reason for you to be subject to these expenses when there are supplemental coverage options available for any budget.
There are two main ways in which you can protect yourself against catastrophic medical spending. 1) Medicare supplements are available for purchase to cover the parts that A & B don’t. 2)Medicare Advantage plans are an option if you are open to getting your A & B benefits through a private health insurance plan with a smaller network than Medicare.
Read more about buying a Medicare Supplement or enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan or contact us for a free consultation at (855) 732-9055 today. Our experts can help you compare the options and find the most suitable plan for you.