Medicare has many parts to it. Original Medicare consists of Part A and Part B. Today, we will focus on Part B. Part B is known as your outpatient care. It covers preventive care such as mammograms, flu shots, colonoscopies, and more. Part B is optional coverage, but there is a late enrollment penalty associated with Part B. However, if Original Medicare is your primary insurance, you must have Part B.
This article will share some essential facts about Part B that you will want to know before signing up.
Part B Costs in 2022
Part B’s monthly premium in 2022 ranges from $170.10 – $578.30. The amount ranges based on your income and how you file your taxes. Most people will pay the standard premium which is $170.10. The premium did increase in 2022 to a whopping $21.60 more a month. Part B premiums are subject to increase each year. 2022’s was the most significant increase in a while, however.
Part B Give Back Plans
The Part B give back plan is a Medicare Advantage plan that provides a benefit that “gives back” a portion of your Part B premium. (In simple terms, the give back is a Medicare Advantage plan with a Part B premium reduction. This plan works the same as a regular Medicare Advantage plan. The difference will be that the Part B premium is reduced by the give-back amount you receive. The give-back benefit isn’t guaranteed every year. To learn more about the Part B give back plans, visit: https://boomerbenefits.com/medicare-part-b-give-back-benefit/
What Medicare Part B Covers
As mentioned above, Part B is your outpatient care. It covers a large variety of medically necessary outpatient services. A few of these services include:
- Ambulance transportation in the event of an emergency
- Walkers, oxygen equipment, wheelchairs
- ER Care
- Blood tests
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Kidney dialysis
- Imaging tests
- Mental health care and outpatient hospital
- Flu, pneumococcal disease, and hepatitis B vaccinations
- Diabetes screening
- Cancer screening
- Cardiovascular disease screening
Part B covers many services and preventive services. These services must be deemed medically necessary to diagnose or treat a health condition.
Services That Aren’t Covered by Part B
Now that we’ve mentioned some of the services covered by Part B let’s discuss some that aren’t. A few of these include:
- Most retail prescription drugs
- Routine vision care
- Routine dental care
- Long-term care
- Hearing aids
- Cosmetic surgery
- Routine physical exams
There are alternatives to get some of these services that are not covered by Part B. For example, you can buy a Part D drug plan if you need prescription drug coverage. Or suppose you need coverage for dental or vision. In that case, specific Medicare Advantage plans cover additional services such as vision, fitness programs, and dental.
Enrolling in Part B
You must be eligible for Medicare before enrolling in Part B. Your eligibility begins three months before your 65th birthday. You could be eligible earlier if you have a disability, end-stage renal disease, or ALS.
Once you are eligible, you have three ways to apply for Medicare:
- Apply through the Social Security Administration website
- Apply by calling Social Security directly
- Apply by going to the Social Security office in person
You’ll be automatically enrolled into Part A and Part B if you receive Social Security benefits or Railroad Retirement Benefits at least four months before your 66th birthday month. If you delay Medicare past 65, and apply for Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits, you’ll be automatically enrolled in Part A, but you will have to apply for Part B.
There are a few different enrollment periods for Medicare:
- Initial Enrollment Period: Begins three months before your 65th birthday month and ends three months after.
- General Enrollment Period: Runs annually from January 1st to March 31st. Your coverage will begin July 1st of the same year.
- Special Enrollment Period: The eight months start when you lose employment or group health plan coverage.
There are many facts about Part B that are important to know before signing up. Part B covers a plethora of outpatient services; there is also a range of services that aren’t covered. Part B costs in 2022 range from $170.10 – $578.30, but you can get some of that back if you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan that offer the Part B give-back benefit.
When it’s time to enroll in Part B, you’ll want to enroll once you become eligible for Medicare during the Initial Enrollment Period unless you have creditable coverage from a large employer. Part B is essential when it comes to Original Medicare. Hopefully, this article was a source of knowledge that taught you some new things about Part B.