What does Medicare Part B cover?
You may remember that in Part A, we explained Original Medicare is the term used when a plan combines Part A with Part B. That’s because in addition to the benefits Part A will give you, Part B covers clinical research, ambulance services, durable medical equipment, mental health (inpatient, outpatient, and partial hospitalization), the ability to get a pre-surgery second opinion, and limited outpatient prescription drugs.
If you aren’t eligible for premium-free Medicare Part A, not to worry; you can buy Part B without having to buy Part A. Here are the qualifications you need to meet:
• 65 years or over
• A U.S. Citizen or permanent resident who has legally been in the country for five consecutive years
When should I enroll?
Much like with Medicare Part A, Part B’s has a seven-month Initial Enrollment Period. This means anywhere between the three months prior to month you turn 65, and the three months after that. For example, if your birthday is in April, you are eligible from January through July.
However, if you don’t sign up within that time, you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty for the entire time you have Part B. According to Medicare.gov, “Your monthly premium for Part B may go up 10% for each full 12-month period that you could have had Part B, but didn’t sign up for it. Also, you may have to wait until the General Enrollment Period (from January 1 to March 31) to enroll in Part B, and coverage will start July 1 of that year.”
How much does it cost?
If you signed up for Part B when you became eligible, then you’ll likely pay a $104.90 premium each month, according to Medicare.gov. Though, this premium can change based on your income, and recent reports indicate it will cost more for a few select groups in the future.
There are some people who automatically get Part B. If you receive Social Security benefits, Railroad Retirement Board (RBB) benefits, are under 65 years old with a disability, have ALS, or live in Puerto Rico and receive Social Security or RBB benefits, then you are eligible for automatic enrollment.
With these benefits, it’s possible that you still don’t feel like you’re getting the coverage that you need. In that case, you can get supplemental Medicare insurance plans.
For more information on Medicare, check out Transamerica Center for Health Studies®‘s handy guide.
About Transamerica Center for Health Studies®.
The Transamerica Center for Health Studies® (TCHS) is a division of the Transamerica Institute®, a nonprofit, private foundation. TI is funded by contributions from Transamerica Life Insurance Company and its affiliates and may receive funds from unaffiliated third parties. TCHS is dedicated to identifying, researching and analyzing the most relevant health care issues facing consumers and employers nationwide. For more information about TCHS, please visit www.TransamericaCenterforHealthStudies.org.