Medicare Part B

4 things to know about Medicare Part B:

  1. It is the second and optional part of Original Medicare.
  2. It is medical insurance that provides coverage for medically necessary services and preventative services.
  3. You have to pay a monthly premium for it. The monthly premium for most people is around $105 in 2015.
  4. Coverage for medical services and supplies comes with deductibles, co-payments, and co-insurance.

Medicare Part B, the second part of Original Medicare, provides medical insurance coverage. It covers many different services such as doctor visits and outpatient medical care.

Part B is optional. If you are automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B, you can opt out of Medicare Part B. When you receive your Medicare card in the mail, just follow the instructions that come attached and send the card back. If you do not follow these instructions, you will be enrolled in Part B and must pay the Part B premiums.

Benefits

Part B is considered medical insurance. Part B covers a wide variety of medical services, including the following:

  • Initial physical exam
  • Yearly wellness exam
  • Doctor services
  • Nursing care
  • Ambulance services
  • Chemotherapy
  • Diagnostic tests and screenings
  • Certain pap smear and mammography screenings
  • Pneumonia and flu vaccinations
  • Durable medical equipment

A full list of covered benefits can be found on the Medicare.gov website.

Costs

Your Part B costs will come in the forms of premiums, deductibles, co-payments, and co-insurance.

Part B Premiums

Part B comes with a monthly premium. Most people pay the standard premium amount of $104.90 per month in 2015.

If you are in a higher income bracket (over $85,000 individually or $170,000 as a couple) you may pay up to $335.70 a month.

Part B deductibles, co-payments, and co-insurance

Part B also comes with a $147 annual deductible in 2015. Part B will not cover anything until you pay that amount each year that you use the coverage.

In addition to the annual deductible, you must pay for a portion of the services covered by Part B. Usually, you must pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for a service. Part B covers the other 80%.

So if your doctor charges Medicare $100 for a service covered by Part B, you could have to pay $20. Part B will pay for the remaining $80.