What is Medicare Part B?

By planmedicare1 - March 10, 2016

Understanding Medicare terms can be confusing for those who are new to Medicare. We at Plan Medicare have defined and answered some frequently asked questions that many have regarding Medicare Part B.

What is Medicare Part B?

Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) is the second part of Original Medicare offered by the government and overseen by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services. Part B covers doctor services, outpatient care, medical supplies and preventive services.

Who can get Medicare Part B?

If you are a U.S. citizen or a permanent, legal resident of the United States, and you are (or are turning) 65 years old, you are eligible for Medicare Part B. Additionally, people under the age of 65 with certain disabilities, and people with End-Stage Renal Disease are entitled to receive Medicare Part B.

When and how can I sign up for Medicare Part B?

Most people will get Medicare Part B automatically during their Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). If you are automatically enrolled, you will receive your red, white, and blue Medicare card in the mail 3 months before your 65th birthday (or the 25th month of your disability). Some people will need to sign up for Medicare Part B if you are not collecting Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits.

If you did not sign up for Medicare Part B when you were first eligible, and you do not have a special circumstance to enroll midstream, you will need to sign up during the General Enrollment Period (GEP), which is January 1st- March 31st of each year. If you enroll during GEP, your coverage will start July 1st of that year.

What does Medicare Part B cost?

Medicare Part B recipients pay a monthly Part B premium. The price of the Part B premium is dependent on the your annual income (as indicated on your individual or joint tax return). The average American recipient pays a premium of $104.90 each month for Medicare Part B coverage, but it can cost as much as $335.70 a month per individual.

What does Medicare Part B cover?

Medicare Part B coverage includes an expansive list of services, including (but not limited to):

  • Doctor services
  • Ambulance services
  • Nursing services
  • Chemotherapy
  • Durable medical equipment
  • Lab tests/ X-Rays/ Physical Therapy
  • Preventive services to prevent illness
  • Prescription drugs under limited conditions (doctor’s office or hospital outpatient setting)

What does Medicare Part B not cover?

Medicare Part B does NOT cover:

  • Part B Excess Charges
  • Prescription Drugs not covered under Part B (Pharmacy)
  • Eye examinations or eyeglasses
  • Hearing aids or being fitted for one
  • Most dental care

Also, it’s important to know that there is a $147 deductible that individuals are required to pay before Medicare begins to pay their share of all services covered by Medicare Part B. After the deductible is paid, recipients pay 20% of what Medicare deems to be a “reasonable charge” while Medicare pays the remaining 80%. Supplemental Plans are available to cover the costs of these limitations associated with Medicare Part B.

If you have any questions in regards to Medicare Plan B or are interested in additional information about Supplemental Plans please contact one of our licensed Medicare experts at PlanMedicare.com.

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