Medicare Part B is often referred to as medical insurance. Part B covers your doctor and specialists visits, outpatient care, home health services, preventative services, as well as medical procedures when admitted to the hospital.
What Does Medicare Part B Cover?
- Clinical Research
- One-Time “Welcome to Medicare” Wellness Exam
- Annual “Wellness” visit every 12 months
- Laboratory Test (X-Rays, blood work)
- DME, Durable Medical Equipment, (wheelchairs, walkers, hospital beds, home oxygen equipment, etc.)
- Prosthetics & Orthotics
- Mental Health Care (inpatient, outpatient and partial hospitalization)
- Ambulance Services
- Preventative Services, care to prevent illness like flu or pneumonia and screenings to detect an illness at an early stage when treatment is most likely to work best
When Should I Apply For Medicare Part B?
Initial Enrollment Period – this is a 7-month period that includes:
- the three months before the month you turn 65
- the month of your 65th birthday
- the three months after the month you turn 65.
Special Enrollment Period– if you or a spouse are still working, you may sign up anytime while you have group health coverage or during the 8-month period that begins the month after employment or coverage ends, whichever occurs first.
General Enrollment Period –between January 1 and March 31 each year. Your coverage will start July 1st of that year. The cost of Medicare Part B will go up 10% for each 12-month period that you could have had Medicare Part B but didn’t take it (unless you have other creditable coverage). You will have to pay this late enrollment penalty as long as you have Medicare Part B.
Medicare Part B comes with part A, but you can elect not to receive it if, e.g., you decide to continue working. It is recommended that you speak with your HR department if you or your spouse are currently and enrolled in a group insurance plan.
How Do I Apply for Medicare Part B?
You can enroll in one of the three ways listed below:
- Applying via the Social Security’s website: www.ssa.gov
- Calling Social Security 1-800-772-1213, TTY 1-800-325-0778
- Visiting your local Social Security office
If you already receive benefits from Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board (RRB), you do not have to sign up. You should automatically receive your Medicare card, it’s white with a red and blue stripe, by your birthday month. Your benefits will begin the first day of the month you turn 65. Note: If your birthday is on the first day of the month, your coverage will begin the first day of the prior month.
If you are disabled, you automatically receive benefits after your 24th month of receiving Social Security disability benefits. Your card will be mailed to you three months prior to your 25th month of disability.
Can I Apply For Both Social Security and Medicare at The Same Time?
Yes, however, electing your Social Security benefits prior to your full retirement age can reduce your overall monthly benefit. You can apply for both or Medicare only. It is best to apply three months before the month you turn 65.
How Much Does Medicare Part B Cost?
The standard Part Be premium for 2017 is $134.00 for those who:
- Will enroll in Part B for the first time in 2017
- Are not collecting Social Security benefits
- Have their Part B premiums paid by Medicaid
Beneficiaries who are currently enrolled in Medicare (prior to 2017), whose premium was taken out of their monthly Social Security benefit will pay an average of $109.00.
Most people will pay the standard Part B monthly premium. However, those with a higher income, above $85,000 (single) or $170,000 (married couple), may pay an Income Related Monthly Adjustment. (IRMAA).
Besides the monthly premium, do I have to pay anything else for Part B?
You will be responsible for an annual deductible of $183.00. (This is for 2017)
After you meet your annual deductible, Medicare will pay for 80% of the Medicare-approved services, leaving you responsible for paying the other 20%. Trusted Senior Specialists will help you enroll in a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Plan that can help with the additional out of pocket expenses.