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Q: What Is the Cost of Medicare Part B?

Asked by Anonymous on October 6, 2017

Is Medicare Part B free? Or is there a monthly Medicare Part B premium that I have to pay?

Howard Yeh
Howard Yeh October 6, 2017

The cost of Medicare Part B comes in the form of a monthly premium (along with deductibles and coinsurance). Unlike Medicare Part A, which is free to Medicare-eligible seniors, Medicare Part B recipients must pay this premium.

Medicare Part B premiums are based on your income levels. These charges may change each year, although they are not expected to increase until 2020.

For 2018, the monthly Medicare Part B premiums are somewhere between $134 and $428.60 per individual. If you receive Social Security benefits, this premium can be deducted out of your Social Security payments so that you don’t have to make regular payments.

Medicare Part B Late Enrollment Penalty: You need to enroll for Medicare Part B when you first become eligible. For people who stop working at 65, that means enrolling in Part B at the same time you enroll in Part A. If you don’t, then you will need to pay the Medicare Part B late payment penalty. This late enrollment penalty amounts to an increase of 10 percent for each year that you were late enrolling in Medicare Part B. You can read a more detailed explanation of the Medicare Part B late enrollment penalty here.

What Medicare Part B Covers: Medicare Part B covers the medical expenses associated with doctors, outpatient facilities and approved Medicare equipment. It doesn’t cover hospitalization, which is under Medicare Part A. Part B also doesn’t cover prescription drugs – that’s covered under Medicare Part D.

Taking the Next Steps

Looking to cover more of your Medicare Part B costs? Consider getting help from a Medicare Supplement plan. Search our database of Medicare Supplement plans to find the right plan for you.

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