There are so many Medicare parts and yet so many unanswered questions!
I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night from a recurring nightmare, my 4th grade teacher is hovering over me shouting, ‘What is Medicare Part A? What is Medicare Part B? What’s the difference between Medicare Part C and D?’
It’s terrifying and for the sake of my sleep and your future sleep, let’s get right into what we both need to know about Medicare Part B.
We will review the three questions you should be asking right now about Medicare Part B; ‘What is Medicare Part B?’, ‘What does Medicare Part B cover?’, and ‘How much does Medicare Part B cost?’.
What Is Medicare Part B?
This the Medicare Part that covers your medical and doctor’s visits.
‘What is Medicare Part B?’
Think of any outpatient type service, whether going to the doctor or physical therapy and generally Part B will be the insurance policy that covers those services.
Unlike Medicare Part A where you are automatically enrolled if you qualify, with Part B you must elect to enroll, yourself.
This is a very important to realize because once you enroll in Medicare Part B after age 65, your open enrollment period of 6 months will start in regard to whether you are automatically accepted without underwriting into Medicare Supplement Plans.
Medigap plans are used to fill the cost gaps that Medicare does not cover.
If you have recently enrolled in Medicare Part B, you need to immediately contact a Senior Benefits representative to discuss your options during the open enrollment period.
What Does Medicare Part B Cover?
Part B is like the equivalent of your daily driver car, this will be your go to medical insurance that you will use the most.
Medically Necessary Services – these are the services and supplies needed to treat and/or diagnose your medical needs
Preventative Services – these are services used to prevent illness (such as a flu shot) or detect possible medical issues at an early stage when treatment options are much less aggressive and effective
In addition, Medicare Part B also covers things like:
Mental Health Services (inpatient, outpatient)
Second Opinion Before Surgery
Very Limited Outpatient Prescription Drugs (See Medicare Part D)
Medicare does not cover everything, even if it does cover the service, you will still be responsible for paying the co-insurance or deductible unless you have a separate insurance plan that covers the gaps.
Some of the most frequent items people are surprised to find are not covered include:
Most dental care
Eye exams related to prescribing glasses
Hearing aids and exams for fitting them
Routine foot care
How Much Does Medicare Part B Cost?
The 2019 minimum monthly premium for Part B is $135.50 if your individual tax filing for the year prior was under $85,000.00 or your joint filing was under $170,000.00.
The Medicare Part B premium is income based, so people who make more money will pay a higher premium.
Individuals who make more than $500,000.00 annually or file jointly in excess of $750,000.00 will pay the highest premiums of $460.50 per month.
To see the entire Part B premium cost chart you can access it here.
In addition to your monthly premium, you will be responsible for an annual deductible or co-insurance of $185 in 2019.
The monthly premium payments and annual deductibles tend to increase at a small rate each year.
For instance, in 2018 monthly Part B premiums were $134.00 and were increased by $1.50 monthly in 2019.
Now that you have a much better understanding of Medicare Part B and what it covers, it’s time to discuss your situation with a Senior Benefit Services expert.
There is a limited time you are eligible to enroll during your one-time open enrollment period or the costs of Medicare Supplement coverage can increase dramatically.
Contact Senior Benefit Services today to find out what the best combination of coverage’s are for you.