How Social Security Affects Your Medicare Part B Premiums
Many Medicare beneficiaries receiving Social Security benefits may receive a lower monthly premium for your Medicare Part B benefits. Medicare Part B is medical insurance for seniors aged 65 and older, or for certain younger people with qualifying disabilities or conditions. It covers a wide range of medically necessary services including doctor visits, medical equipment and more.
The Cost of Health Insurance Coverage
To get the many benefits of Medicare Part B, you must pay a monthly premium. The standard premium in 2018 is the same as it was in 2017: $134 per month (or more depending on your income). But some people may get a lower premium.
According to Medicare.gov:
Most people who get Social Security benefits pay less than this amount. This is because the Part B premium increased more than the cost-of-living increase for 2017 Social Security benefits. If you pay your Part B premium through your monthly Social Security benefit, you’ll pay less ($109 on average). Social Security will tell you the exact amount you’ll pay for Part B in 2017.
Besides your premium, you’ll also pay $183 per year for your Part B deductible in 2018. Once you meet your deductible, you’ll typically pay for 20 percent of the Medicare-approved amount for medical services.
If you don’t enroll in Medicare Part B during your Initial Enrollment Period, you may face a late enrollment penalty. You may be able to avoid this penalty if you qualify for a special Medicare enrollment period.
What Does Medicare Part B Cover?
Medicare Part B is medical insurance and includes coverage for:
- Certain doctors services
- Outpatient care
- Preventative services
- Pneumonia and flu vaccinations
- Ambulance services
- Durable medical equipment
- Mental health services
Medicare Part B is optional, separate from Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance). In order to qualify, you typically must be 65 years or older. You must also be a U.S. citizen, or a permanent lawful resident for at least five continuous years.
If you are under age 65, you may also be eligible if you receive Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board disability benefits for more than 24 months.
Covering Out-of-Pocket Costs for Medicare
Even though Medicare is comprehensive, you will still be responsible for the deductibles, coinsurance, copayments and other fees associated with Medicare Part B. Medigap, or Medicare Supplement Insurance, can help to cover some of these gaps left in Original Medicare coverage.
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