What is Medicare Part B?

Part B, in similar fashion to Part A, is also received through the federal government. The actual application process also parallels that of Part A. However, your decision about signing up for Part B can depend on personal preferences or other health insurance plans. 

Eligibility for Medicare Part B?

Depending on which enrollment period you choose, you can enroll in a Part B plan at any time. Even if you feel as though you don’t need Part B, think carefully about neglecting to sign up. The late penalty for Medicare Plan B can result in both higher payments and premiums. 

When to enroll in Medicare Part B?

The actual Medicare application process also parallels that of Part A. However, your decision about signing up for Part B can depend on personal preferences or other health insurance plans. 

One of the biggest factors for Part B enrollment is private insurance. If you have a private insurance plan, you may not need to sign up for Part B immediately. Contact your agent if you have more questions on this front. 

Part B can be an important choice if you or a family member/spouse is disabled, still working and have employer-provided coverage. If this is the case, you may have options to delay your enrollment in Part B. 

How to apply for Medicare Part B

If you're nearing 65 and you're not receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) benefits, you'll want to apply for Part B (if you need it) as soon as you can. Similar to Part A, you can apply doing any of the following:

If you already receive Social Security or RRB benefits, you don't need to do anything. You'll receive a Medicare red-white-and-blue card about three months before your 65th birthday. If disabled, you'll receive your card during your 25th month of disability. Even if you don’t want Part B, you can follow the instructions on that same card and return it. 

What is covered under Medicare Part B?

Part B covers medical insurance components such as lab tests, surgeries and doctor visits.

What is Medicare Part B deductible?

Your first deductible under Part B is $183, which helps cover 80% of the aforementioned services. 

What is the cost of Medicare Part B?

Medicare prices can vary for everyone. However, with the Priority Health Cost Estimator tool, you can find out what plans like Part A can cost for you. 

What is Medicare Part B premium?

The standard monthly premium for Part B tends to be around $134, dependent on your yearly income. 

What's the Medicare Part B penalty?

If you don't sign up for Part B when you are first eligible for Medicare, you may be penalized depending on your coverage being creditable or not. Creditable coverage is coverage provided by an employer group or union that offers benefits comparable to Original Medicare. 

Special situations for Medicare eligibility

In some situations you may be eligible for Medicare before you turn 65 or you may need some parts of Medicare to keep your current health plan or add other coverage.

For those with a particular disease

  • If you have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also called Lou Gehrig's disease, you automatically get Part A and Part B the month your disability benefits begin.
  • If you have End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) you can apply for Part A and Part B.

For those who live outside the U.S.

  • If you live in Puerto Rico and get benefits from Social Security or the RRB you'll automatically get Part A. If you want Part B, you’ll have to apply for it.

For those with alternative Medicare coverage

  •  If you have Part A and TRICARE (insurance for active duty military or retirees and their families) you must have Part B to keep your TRICARE coverage unless the service member who carries the coverage is on active duty.