Medicare, in its purest form, is a government-supported program. It therefore contains a variety of structures, coverage limits and personal costs that will apply to most subscribers, regardless of who they are or where they live. Among the main, most-familiar Medicare coverage components is Medicare Part B. What is this coverage? What will it cover? How much will it cost?
Understanding Medicare Part B
The U.S. government’s Medicare program provides health insurance coverage for millions of senior citizens, those with disabilities and certain people with chronic illnesses. It contains two main coverage elements, Medicare Part A & Medicare Part B.
Part A coverage is often called inpatient or hospital insurance. It pays for the costs of being admitted to the hospital, such a surgery costs, inpatient treatments and more. It can also apply to costs like nursing home or hospice care. But, it won’t cover many common medical needs, like regular checkup costs. That’s the job of Medicare Part B.
Part B coverage is commonly called outpatient insurance. It can still pay for certain care in a hospital, like chemotherapy treatments or blood transfusions. However, it’s meant to pay for costs of care that you might receive without an overnight stay. Your regular checkup, immunizations, lab work, outpatient imaging, medical devices and such related care all will often have coverage.
The Cost of Part B Coverage
Part B is an optional type of coverage, whereas Part A coverage is mandatory for all Medicare subscribers. However, you greatly benefit from enrolling in Part B at the time you enroll in Part A.
You will usually pay no premium for your Part A coverage. Most Part A premiums are covered through the taxation structure imposed by the Medicare and Social Security systems. However, Part B does have an individual premium, which varies by year. In 2019, this is $135 at its lowest level, though your precise premium might vary based on income and tax filings.
Part B coverage also has a coinsurance component and a deductible. The 2019 deductible is $185, and you must pay this cost out-of-pocket before your policy will pay for any of the costs of care.
After you reach the deductible cost, your Medicare Part B will cover 80% of the costs of your care, while you will pay the remaining 20% of the care costs. Co-payments might also apply.
However, there is no annual limit to how much your policy will pay for Part B coverage. Certain essential services, as defined by law, will have no cost at all. For example, Part B will usually cover your annual flu shot at no cost, as long as your doctor vaccinates Medicare recipients. If you want to learn more about the cost of a test or service, visit Medicare.gov.
Also Read: Does Original Medicare Cover Any Medication Costs?