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What Is Medicare Part B?

Medicare Part B provides coverage for a range of medically necessary outpatient services. Part B also offers coverage for medical procedures performed in and out of the hospital, where a physician performs the care. 

HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC, Kelly Quinn

What Does Medicare Part B Cover?

Medicare Part B is for a range of outpatient medical services, including:

  • Your regular doctor appointments

  • Preventative care, for example, flu shots, mammograms, colonoscopies, etc

  • Lab tests

  • Home health care

  • Ambulance services

  • Chiropractic care

In addition, Medicare Part B also offers coverage for high-priced hospital services, including chemotherapy or radiation for cancer treatment, surgeries, diagnostic imaging, kidney dialysis, and specific medical equipment. Part B also covers any drugs given to you in a clinical setting.

While enrolling in Medicare Part B is entirely optional, it’s worth considering if Medicare is your primary coverage for your health needs. You also cannot receive the Medigap supplemental coverage without enrolling. In terms of coverage, Medicare Part B covers 80% of approved outpatient costs once you’ve paid your yearly deductible.

What Medicare Part B doesn’t cover

While Medicare Part B does provide a good level of coverage, it’s essential to realize it doesn’t cover everything. A general rule of thumb is that it only covers necessary and reasonable medical services. Items that aren’t covered include:

  • Hospital costs, which are covered by Medicare Part A

  • Prescription drugs, which are covered by Medicare Part D 

  • Routine vision, dental or hearing services, which can sometimes be covered under Medicare Part C plans, known as Medicare Advantage

  • Any cosmetic procedures

  • Foot care

Your doctor can help you understand the rules for what’s covered under Medicare Part B and what isn’t. You can also contact one of our specialized Medicare agents in North Carolina to find out more.

How Much Is Medicare Part B?

You are required to pay a monthly premium for Medicare Part B. The Medicare Part B premium 2022 amount is $170.10, although this amount can vary depending on your income. In addition, the annual deductible payable for Medicare Part B is $233.

If your income is higher than a certain amount, you will need to pay an additional charge for your coverage, which is added to your premium. The time period for assessing your income is two years before the current year. So, for example, if you earned between $91,000 and $114,000 in 2020, your monthly premium would total $238.10 in 2022.

If you already receive social security income benefits, Medicare will take your Part B premiums directly out of your benefit payment. If not, you can expect to receive a bill each quarter that you can pay via credit card or Medicare Easy Pay.

Enrolling in Medicare Part B

If you’re already receiving social security benefits, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part B when you turn 65. So look out for your Medicare Part B card in the mail a few months before your birthday. 

Otherwise, you’ll need to enroll when you turn 65, which can be done online, over the phone or by visiting your local social security office. Once you apply, it can take a few weeks to receive your card. You can apply three months before your birthday to ensure you have your card when you turn 65. 

It’s essential to understand that if you enroll late into Medicare Part B, late penalty fees apply throughout your lifetime. Enrollment is available during your Initial Enrollment Period, which is three months before your birthday, anytime throughout your birthday month, and three months following. 

Get expert advice about Medicare Part B

If you’ve got any questions about the cost of Medicare Part B, how Medicare Part A and B works, or what does Medicare Part B cover, then get in touch with our experienced agents today. Our North Carolina Medicare agents help people living in NC with all of their health insurance needs. So give us a call today or compare plans online.

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