Medicare Part B

What Does Medicare Part B Cover?

Part B is "medical" insurance for regular health care visits and needs. Coverage includes medically necessary services (such as wheelchairs or surgeries) as well as preventive health care services like lab tests and doctor visits.

Who is Eligible for Medicare Part B?

Coverage is available once you turn 65 or if you meet one of these criteria:

  • Already receiving benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB)

  • Under 65 and have disability

  • Have ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis)

When Do You Get Medicare Part B?

Like Medicare Part A, you'll be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part B when you turn 65 if you're already getting benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB). Three months before your 65th birthday, or your 25th month of disability, Social Security will send you your Medicare card in the mail. The card is good for both your Medicare Part A and Part B coverage. You don't have to take any action to keep your coverage however, you have the option to drop Part B and only keep Part A but it's not recommended.

What Does Medicare Part B Cost?

The majority of people with Medicare Part B pay a monthly premium of $134 in 2017, assuming he or she signed up during the Initial Enrollment Period. Depending on your income level, you could pay a higher monthly premium. However, most people who receive Social Security benefits will pay less than this amount.

If you don't apply for Medicare Part B during the initial 7-month window, or if you drop your coverage, you have the option to sign up during the next General Enrollment Period which is January 1 – March 31st each year. However, if you fail to sign up during your Initial Enrollment Period you may have to pay a premium penalty for as long as you have Part B.


Important Reminders about Part B:
Timing is important. If you don’t sign up for Part B when you first become eligible, you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty for as long as you have Part B. That’s why it's important to enroll when you first become eligible to avoid additional costs. With Part B, you can get additional coverage through Part C, or Part D.

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