Medicare Part B

What Is Medicare Part B?

Part B helps cover medically-necessary services like doctors’ services, outpatient care, home health services, and other medical services.  Part B also covers some preventive services. Check your Medicare card to find out if you have Part B.

Sample Medicare Card

How Much Does Medicare Part B Cost?

You pay the Part B premium each month. 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 than the standard premium amount.
Your modified adjusted gross income is your taxable income plus your tax-exempt interest income. Social Security will notify you if you have to pay more than the standard premium. If you have to pay a higher amount for your Part B premium and you disagree (even if you get Railroad Retirement Board benefits), call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213. TTY users should call 1-800-325-0778.

If you don’t sign up for Part B when you are first eligible, you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty.

How Do I Get Medicare Part B?

  • If you get benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB), in most cases you’ll automatically get Part B starting the first day of the month you turn 65. If your birthday is on the first day of the month, your Part B will start the first day of the prior month.
  • If you’re under 65 and disabled, you’ll automatically get Part B after you get disability benefits from Social Security or certain disability benefits from the RRB for 24 months. You’ll get your Medicare card in the mail about 3 months before your 65th birthday or your 25th month of disability.
  • If you don’t want Part B, follow the instructions that come with the card, and send the card back. If you keep the card, you keep Part B and will pay Part B premiums.
  • If you have ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also called Lou Gehrig’s disease), you automatically get Part B the month your disability benefits begin.

How Do I Get Medicare Part B?

Medicare information for 2016

There are two kinds of Part B-covered services:

Medically-Necessary Services — Services or supplies that are needed to diagnose or treat your medical condition and that meet accepted standards of medical practice.

Preventive Services — Health care to prevent illness or detect it at an early stage, when treatment is most likely to work best (for examples see Medicare& You Handbook ).

What You Pay For Part B Services?

Costs for Part B services depend on whether you have Original Medicare or are in a Medicare health plan. For some services, there are no costs, but you may have to pay for the doctor’s visit. If the Part B deductible applies, you must pay all costs until you meet the yearly Part B deductible before Medicare begins to pay its share. Then, after your deductible is met, you typically pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount of the service. You can save money if you choose doctors or providers who accept assignment.