The Medicare Part B program is designed to help pay for doctor bills, hospital stays, and other medical expenses. It’s a part of the Medicare system that is best known for covering medically necessary services. Part B works in tandem with Part A to help those with limited incomes afford healthcare.
Unfortunately, like all health insurance plans, Medicare doesn’t come cheap. The average cost of monthly premiums for Part B coverage is not low by any means. That being said, the amount you’ll be required to pay will vary from person to person.
How much does Part B cost?
While the average price can be challenging to predict and fluctuate from year to year, Medicare officials have estimated that most people will pay around $134.00 a month for a basic level of coverage. It’s important to point out that this is an average cost for most individuals. Your costs will vary based on your specific circumstances and needs according to Clearmatch Medicare.
What makes up your Part B premium?
The official name for the Medicare Part B premium is “the national average monthly bid (premium) indicated on the Medicare Fee Schedule.” It’s worth noting that this is an average, so that it can vary yearly. The current amount that most people pay — $134.00 a month — is lower than the most recent figures. In 2016, the average amount was $134.90 a month.
To calculate this amount, Medicare officials rely on a variety of factors. The bid is calculated based on the costs projected for Part B services. The Medicare actuaries, who create this annual report, are responsible for making these calculations.
What if your income is too high?
If you have a high income and live in certain parts of the country, you may not get quality Part B coverage. In these cases, your income will likely be considered too high, and you’ll be required to pay a higher dollar amount. To find out if you’re eligible for Part B coverage, it’s essential to contact your local Medicare office.
What if your income is too low?
If you have a limited income and live in certain parts of the country, it may be challenging to qualify for Part B even though you make enough money to pay for the premium yourself. To qualify for Medicare’s coverage of outpatient care, you must have a high enough income. If your income is too low, you may be considered to have “spent down” your assets to the point that you no longer qualify for Part B coverage. Again, it’s wise to contact your local office about these matters.
What are the other costs associated with Part B?
Part B has some out-of-pocket costs attached to it. They’re called coinsurance, copayments, and deductibles. The deductible is the amount of money you must pay upfront before Medicare pays its share. After you pay that amount, your plan covers 100 percent of the covered services. The coinsurance is a percentage of each covered bill. It’s different from a deductible because it’s the amount you owe, not your plan coverage.
The copayment is simply the amount you pay at each visit to your doctor or HMO. The coinsurance and copayments are charged as a percentage of each covered service, not as a fixed dollar amount.
How does Part B compare to private insurance?
If you have private insurance, it’s important to remember that the coverage you receive through Medicare is supplemental. Part A and Part B are designed primarily for those with limited incomes who need help paying for healthcare. Once the deductible and coinsurance have been met, Medicare pays 100 percent of covered expenses. In other words, you only pay for services your private plan would not ordinarily cover.
Part B is essential if your prescription medications are expensive. The coverage that Medicare provides for prescription drugs is far more generous than what you would receive from private insurers, so it’s not something you should dismiss.
How can you lower your costs?
You may be able to lower the amount that you pay each month by getting a Part B plan and lowering the deductible on your existing plan. The less you spend on prescriptions and other medical expenses, the less it will cost to cover those services through Medicare.
If your current plan does not provide Medicare-covered services, you should consider signing up for Part B. It’s possible that it won’t provide all the coverage you need, and you may have to find a new plan through the Part B program. But if you’re looking for ways to lower your costs, this could be the answer to your problems.
What can you expect from your Medicare plan?
Part A and Part B come with some basics. There are a few core features that will apply to just about everyone. But even if you’re a current recipient of Medicare or planning to take part sometime in the future, there are still some things you should know about your coverage.
Your health plan may cover many of your healthcare needs, but it won’t cover everything. It would be impossible for government officials to develop a program to provide everyone with everything they need at a low cost.