Medicare Part B helps cover medically-necessary services like doctors’ services, outpatient care, home health services, and other medical services. Part B also includes some preventive services. Check your Medicare card to find out if you have Part B.
Medicare Part A covers your in-hospital expenses, Part B coverage is there to aid you with your non-hospital expenses that are deemed to be medically necessary.
Medicare Part B Eligibility
Your Medicare initial enrollment period begins 3 months before your 65th birthday, the month of your 65th birthday, plus the 3 months following your birthday month.
If you refuse Part B during your initial enrollment period you may sign up during the general enrollment period which runs from January 1 through March 31.
Your coverage will begin on July 1 of that year. You may be subject to a late enrollment penalty.
If you have coverage through an employer group health plan you may choose to delay your Part B enrollment until such time as the employer plan terminates. Once you lose the employer health plan you have up to 8 months under a Special Election Period in which to enroll in Medicare Part B without penalty.
Medicare Part B Premiums
Unlike Part A coverage, Part B always requires you to pay a monthly premium. Although there is a standard premium that most people pay, high income individuals may be required to pay a higher premium for their Medicare Part B
If your modified adjusted gross income as reported on your IRS tax return from 2 years ago is above a certain amount, you may pay more.
Your modified adjusted gross income is your taxable income plus your tax exempt interest income. Social Security will notify you if you have to pay more than the standard premium. If you have to pay a higher amount for your Part B premium and you disagree (even if you get Railroad Retirement Board benefits), call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213. TTY users should call 1-800-325-0778.
If you don’t sign up for Part B when you are first eligible, you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty.
What Medicare Part B Covers and Doesn’t Cover
Preventive health care includes things such as pap smears and flu shots, or anything else that can prevent an illness or result in early detection. Many preventive health screenings are available to you at no charge. Ask your doctor which services are no charge and which ones will be billed to you.
You should remember that if you were eligible for Part B and did not sign up for it right away you may have to pay a penalty for signing up late. The penalty is a percentage increase in your Part B premiums — up to 10 percent per year that you are late.
Consumers automatically receive Medicare Part B they meet certain conditions, such as getting Social Security benefits. A Medicare card will be sent to you when you become eligible for coverage, and it will show you whether you have Part A, Part B or both. If you don’t want Part B coverage, you have to return the card. By keeping it you agree that you want it and that you will be paying the monthly Part B premiums.