Medicare Part B covers Medical Services such as doctor visits, outpatient hospital care, and lab tests. Most people pay a Medicare Part B premium of $104.90/month. Some people are eligible to have their Part B premium paid for by Medicaid through the Medicare Savings Program.
Gaps in Part B
Medicare doesn’t cover everything. Some notable gaps in Part B that are not covered by Medicare include:
- Annual deductible: $147
- Patient is responsible for 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for most doctor services (both outpatient and inpatient), outpatient therapy, and durable medical equipment.
Many people purchase supplemental policies that help to cover the gaps in Medicare coverage. These policies are often referred to as Medigap policies. Medigap policies vary in what they will cover in how much coverage they provide. Be sure to carefully review what a policy provides before purchasing one. Medicare.gov provides a tool to help consumers find a Medigap plan in their area.
Enrollment in Part B
People who collect Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits will usually get Medicare Part A and Part B automatically. If someone is 65 and is not yet getting Social Security or Railroad Retirement Benefits, he will need to contact Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board to sign up. People who delay signing up for Part B when they are first eligible may have to pay a higher premium as a late enrollment penalty; especially if they were not covered under a group employer plan at the time of their initial eligibility. For those that qualify, the late enrollment penalty can be avoided by applying for the Medicare Savings Program.