Medicare Part B

Last updated: October 7, 2015

Medical Insurance

Part B of Medicare covers most doctor services, some outpatient hospital, and home health care services: this includes some physical and occupational therapy.

What Is Included in Part B?

Generally, Part B covers medically-necessary services and supplies that are needed to diagnose or treat your medical condition. These services and supplies must meet accepted standards of medical practice.

Enrollment in Part B

Most people will first become eligible to enroll in Part B around their 65th birthday. If you receive Social Security benefits, enrollment in Part B is automatic: you must specifically tell Medicare if you do not want to receive Part B.

Information on how to do this will be sent to your home along with your Part A Medicare card.

Consider your coverage options carefully during your initial enrollment period. If you choose not to enroll in Part B coverage during the initial seven-month enrollment period, and then change your mind later on, you can be charged an extra 10% for every 12 months that you were eligible for Part B but did not enroll, and this fee applies for the rest of your life (See "Medicare Enrollment", page 41).

What Will I Pay for Part B?

If you choose to enroll in Part B you will be charged a monthly premium.

  • Oftentimes this premium is taken directly out of your Social Security, Railroad Retirement or Civil Service Retirement payments each month. If you do not receive any of these payments, you will be billed directly for the coverage.

Most new enrollees can expect to pay a monthly premium of $104.90 for Part B coverage in 2015.

Enrollees who have incomes above $85,000 (single) and $170,000 (married couple) may be charged a higher monthly premium.

Enrollees covered under Part B are subject to a deductible. In 2015, this deductible is $147.

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