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Medicare Part B

Part B of Medicare provides qualifying US citizens with outpatient medical insurance, which covers doctors’ services, preventative services, and other forms of outpatient care. You can enroll in Part B medical insurance three months before and four months after your 65th birthday. There is also a special enrollment period for those who are covered by a group health plan offered by a union or employer.

If you are already receiving benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board, you will automatically enroll in Part B the month you turn 65: if your birthday is on the first of the month, you will enroll in Part B on the first day of the previous month. If you are disabled and under the age of 65, you automatically get Part B once you receive Social Security disability benefits. Most people must pay a monthly premium depending on their income to ensure Part B coverage. The premium is usually deducted from your monthly Social Security payments depending on income.

You can chose to opt out of Part B by sending the Medicare Part B card back when you receive it in the mail: by keeping the card, you keep Part B and keep paying Part B premiums. If you chose not to enroll during your initial enrollment period, you have the opportunity to register in the general enrollment period that stretches from January 1 to May 1. For every 1 year period that you were qualified to enroll in but opted not to your Part B monthly premium will increase by 10 percent.

Medicare Part B provides patients with medically necessary outpatient health care. Part B fills in some of Part A’s gaps by providing coverage for doctors in an outpatient setting as well as for approved medical equipment and supplies when necessary. Physician services, nursing services, vaccinations, cardiovascular and diabetes screenings, lab services, and other preventative services can all be covered by Part B. Routine physical exams are not covered by Part B.Medicare Part B will not pay for cosmetic surgery, custodial care, prescription drugs, dental care, or vision care, as well as other services.

Medicare does not cover every health-related service or item. You will likely have to pay copayments and deductibles on services even if they are covered by Medicare. Most copayments will cost around 20 percent of the total cost of the service. If a service you need is not covered by Medicare, you must cover the costs yourself unless you have separate insurance.