Medicare Part B is optional. You will be automatically enrolled in Part B with Part A when you reach age 65. You should receive your card three months before your 65th birthday. You will also receive instructions on how to reject Part B should you not wish to participate.
Coverage includes doctor visits, x-rays, vaccinations, most outpatient hospital procedures, and laboratory and diagnostic tests.
Cost-Most people currently pay a premium of $104.90 per month. The charge will be automatically deducted from your Social Security payment. This makes it very convenient. There is an annual deductible of $147 for everyone. After that is met, Medicare generally pays 80 percent of most physician services.
Medicare Part B does not have a maximum out-of-pocket amount. Unlike most insurance policies, there is no cap to the sum you may have to pay. If you require frequent doctor visits and treatment, no matter how large the bill, you are still responsible for at least 20 percent of the payment.
Canes, walkers, scooters, prosthetics, oxygen, and other necessary medical equipment may be covered.
Dental, eyeglasses, and hearing aids are not covered.
If you delay signing up for Part B when you turn 65 and enroll at a later date, you will be charged a permanent 10 percent increase in payments. This does not apply if you are currently employed and covered by another policy. Once you do stop working, you have a window of eight months to begin your Medicare coverage.
In general, Medicare will cover approximately 48 percent of your total medical expenses. Many recipients choose to purchase a Medigap policy to help with deductibles, coinsurance and non-covered services. We’ll discuss that in Part 3 of this series.