Medicare 101

What does Medicare Part B Medical Insurance cover?


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Medicare Part B helps cover medically necessary expenses like doctors’ services, outpatient care, and other medical services that Part A doesn’t cover. Part B also covers many preventive services. Part B coverage is your choice. However, you need to have Part B if you want to buy Part A.

How much does Medicare Part B coverage cost?

You pay the Part B premium each month. Most people will pay the standard premium amount, which is $134 in 2018 if you sign up for Part B when you’re first eligible. This amount can change every year but tends not to change by a large amount.

Important: In most cases, if you don’t sign up for Part B when you are first eligible, you’ll have to pay a late enrollment penalty for as long as you have Part B. Also, you may have to wait until the General Enrollment Period (from January 1–March 31) to enroll in Part B, and coverage will start July 1 of that year.

Most people will pay the standard premium amount. However, if your modified adjusted gross income as reported on your IRS tax return from 2 years ago is above a certain amount, you may pay more.

What’s a Part B late enrollment penalty?

In most cases, if you don’t sign up for Medicare Part B when you are first eligible, you’ll have to pay a late enrollment penalty for as long as you have Part B. The late enrollment penalty takes the standard premium amount and increases it by 10% for each full 12-month period that you could have had Part B, but didn’t.

For example, if you were first eligible for Part B in July 2013, but didn’t enroll

until January 2016, you’d have a 20% late enrollment penalty. The standard premium amount would be increased by 20% for as long as you have Part B.

How can I pay my Medicare Part B premium?

If you get Social Security, Railroad Retirement Board (RRB), or Office of Personnel Management (OPM) benefits, your Part B premium will be automatically deducted from your benefit payment.

If you don’t get these benefit payments, you’ll get a bill. If you choose to buy Part A, you’ll always get a bill for your premium. There are 4 ways to pay these bills:

  • Mail in your premium payments to the Medicare Collection Center
  • Pay by credit card
  • Sign up for and pay via Medicare Easy Pay
  • Make an online bill payment through your bank

Can I get Part B if I don’t have Part A?

If you aren’t eligible for free Part A, you can buy Medicare Part B without having to buy Part A, if you’re:

  • 65 or older
  • A resident of the U.S., and one of these:
    • a U.S. citizen
    • an immigrant lawfully admitted for permanent residence who has lived in the U.S. without a break for the 5-year
    • period immediately before the month you file for enrollment in Part B

How do I know if I have Medicare Part A or Part B?

If you’re not sure if you have Part A or Part B, look on your red, white, and blue Medicare card. If you have Part A, “Hospital (Part A)” is printed on the lower left corner of your card. If you have Part B, “Medical (Part B)” is printed on the lower left corner of your card.

Have any questions?
Just get in touch with one of our Heroes that would be happy to help you! We are unbiased independent brokers contracted with all of the major health insurance companies. We are 100% free to you and the prices are the same as if you went directly to the health insurance companies, but with us as your Medicare concierge we can continue to guide you in your journey.

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