Medicare Part B is the second integral part of original Medicare. This program is not free to the majority of members, although premiums are scaled based on income levels and other qualifying factors. Medicare Part B covers medically necessary and preventative medical services. What are medically necessary and preventative services?
Medically necessary services include visits to doctors. Ambulance services are also considered medically necessary, as are various outpatient treatments, home-based medical services and obtaining medical equipment.
Medicare Plan B also covers expenses related to terminal illnesses, diabetes treatments, pneumococcal vaccines and chemotherapy.
Depression, drug & alcohol dependency issues and other mental disorders are also covered under Part B plans.
Members with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) or Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) qualify for free Medicare Part B coverage. The average premium for Plan B costs $170.10 in 2022. Copays, co-insurance and other expenses also apply out-of-pocket.
Lower monthly premiums might be available to members with certain disabilities or people suffering from significant verifiable financial hardship. When you do not qualify for free Medicare Part B coverage it is important to enroll in the plan when it is made available to you during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP).
If you miss the enrollment period, penalties are applied and your premiums cost more when you finally do enroll. The general enrollment period happens from January 1 of each year through to March 31st. As of July of that same year, you are covered. If you qualify for a special enrollment period, then you are allowed to sign up at any time.