Medicare Part B provides the medical coverage portion of Original Medicare (Parts A and B)Original Medicare is a fee-for-service health insurance program available to Americans aged 65 and older and some individuals with disabilities. Original Medicare is provided by the federal government and is made up of two parts: Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance).
The overall cost of Medicare Part B is your monthly premiumA premium is a fee you pay to your insurance company for health plan coverage. This is usually a monthly cost. and annual deductibleA deductible is an amount you pay out of pocket before your insurance company covers its portion of your medical bills. For example: If your deductible is $1,000, your insurance company will not cover any costs until you pay the first $1,000 yourself., plus coinsuranceCoinsurance is the percentage of your medical costs that you pay after you meet your deductible. Your insurance company pays the remaining amount. For example: If you have a $1,000 medical bill and your coinsurance is 20%, you'll pay $200. Your insurance company will cover the final $800. for each visit or service you have after your deductible is paid
There is a standard Medicare Part B premium amount, but what you pay may increase depending on your income
Medicare Part B provides the medical portion of your Medicare coverage. Part B has costs, including a premium, deductible and coinsurance. Together, they make up the overall cost of Medicare Part B. But the costs aren’t the same for everyone. So, what else do you need to account for?
Here’s what you should know about the cost of Medicare Part B.
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Have you ever asked a friend or family member: “How much does Medicare Part B cost?” If so, they probably responded with their monthly premium amount. This is the monthly cost of Medicare Part B when you have Original Medicare (Parts A and B). It’s income-based and changes each year. To illustrate, here’s how the 2022 Medicare Part B premium compares to the year prior:
- Medicare Part B premium 2021: $148.50 and up
- Medicare Part B premium 2022: $170.10 and up
Your Medicare Part B premium is an important piece of your budget to figure out, but it’s just a part of what you’ll end up paying. How much is Medicare Part B overall? That depends; your Part B premium may go up if your income is high enough, and several other costs will also factor into what you pay. These include your deductible and out-of-pocket costs like coinsurance and copayments.
Typically, the cost of your Medicare Part B coverage comes down to several costs, starting with your monthly premium and annual Medicare Part B deductible. After your deductible is paid, you’ll need to pay coinsurance for each visit or service. This is often 20% of the Medicare-approved cost. Original Medicare does not have an out-of-pocket maximum, so there’s no limit to how much you could end up paying for Medicare Part B.
Your cost may go up even more if you don’t sign up for Medicare when you’re first eligible; Medicare Part B has a 10% penalty for every 12-month period you weren’t enrolled in Medicare but were eligible. You’ll pay this enrollment penalty as long as you’re enrolled in Part B.
There are options for lowering the overall cost of Medicare Part B. Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) has several policies that will help cover your Part B costs, including premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket costs. Medicare Advantage (Part C) is Medicare coverage offered by private insurance companies and often has different costs for Part B coverage than Original Medicare.
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If you have Original Medicare (Parts A and B), you’ll likely pay for your Part B plan. Medicare beneficiaries that worked 10 or more years often receive no-cost Part A coverage. Part B, however, is not calculated according to work history. Unless you have extra standalone coverage like Medigap, you’ll likely need to pay a monthly premium, plus your deductible and coinsurance.
Are you still asking, “Can I get Medicare Part B for free?” There may be avenues to financial relief. If you have limited income and resources and are having a tough time affording Medicare, you may be eligible for a Medicare Savings Program. Depending on where you live, you may also qualify for Medicaid.
When totaling up how much you’ll pay for Medicare Part B, there are several costs to consider. Each cost is different, but you’ll want to know how they work. Here’s a breakdown of each:
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What it isThe monthly amount you pay for your Part B coverage
2022 amount$170.10 and up
What else to knowIncome-based; the highest earners may pay up to $578.30 per month
What it isThe amount you pay before Medicare pays its portion
What else to knowYou’ll pay your deductible each year, and the amount typically changes
What it isThe amount you pay per visit or service
2022 amount20% of Medicare-approved costs
What else to knowYou start paying once you’ve paid your Medicare Part B deductible
How is Medicare Part B premium calculated?
The Medicare Part B premium changes each year and is calculated based on data collected by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The standard amount for Part B coverage in 2022 is $170.10 per month.
If your income is high enough, you may pay more for your Part B premium each month. Medicare measures your modified adjusted gross income to determine your income level. Depending on how much money you make, you may have to pay an Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA) on top of your Part B premium. While most people pay the standard amount, an IRMAA can make your premium payment balloon up to as much as $578.30 per month.
Medicare provides IRMAA limits for adults who are:
- Married couples who file jointly
- Married couples who file separately
Here are the Part B income limits and IRMAA amounts for 2022: [i]
Single income: $91,000 or less
Joint income: $182,000 or less
Married & filed separate: $91,000 or less
Part B premium plus IRMAA: $170.10
Single income: $91,001 – $114,000
Joint income: $182,001 – $228,000
Married & filed separate: not applicable
Part B premium plus IRMAA: $238.10
Single income: $114,001-$142,000
Joint income: $228,001-$284,000
Married & filed separate: not applicable
Part B premium plus IRMAA: $340.20
Single income: $142,001-$170,000
Joint income: $284,001-$340,000
Married & filed separate: not applicable
Part B premium plus IRMAA: $442.30
Single income: $170,001 to $499,999
Joint income: $340,001-$749,999
Married & filed separate: $91,001-$408,999
Part B premium plus IRMAA: $544.30
Single income: $500,000 and up
Joint income: $750,000 and up
Married & filed separate: $409,000 and up
Part B premium plus IRMAA: $578.30
How do I pay my Part B premium?
Your Medicare Part B premium is a monthly payment. It may be deducted automatically for you if you receive the following benefits:
- Social Security
- Railroad Retirement Board (RRB)
- The Office of Personnel Management (federal government)
If you don’t receive any of these benefits, you may be responsible for paying your Part B premium each month.
What is the Medicare Part B deductible for 2022
Your deductible is the amount you must pay out-of-pocket before Medicare begins to pay its portion. After you’ve met your deductible each year, you then pay coinsurance for each Medicare-approved service you receive. Like the premium, the Part B deductible can change each year. Here’s the most recent deductible amount compared to the year prior:
- Medicare Part B deductible 2021: $203
- Medicare Part B deductible 2022: $233
Unlike the Part B premium, this amount isn’t based on income. Everyone enrolled in Original Medicare pays the same Part B deductible. That means no matter how high your income is, you’ll pay the standard Medicare Part B deductible amount.
When it comes to Medicare, Part B is a big part of what comes to mind when older Americans think about their medical coverage. Medicare Part B covers the medical services you need and, along with Part A (hospital services), provides the foundation of Original Medicare.
But Part B coverage isn’t exclusive to Original Medicare; you’ll receive at least the same benefits with Medicare Advantage (Part C). It replaces Original Medicare (Part A & B), but offers the same Part A and B benefits or coverage as Original Medicare. Along with receiving Part A and B benefits, Medicare Part C often bundles additional services like dental, hearing, vision and prescription drug coverage.
What does Medicare Part B cover exactly?
Medicare Part B generally covers the medical treatments you receive. But Part B won’t cover everything — your treatments or services must either be:
- Medically necessary: Your doctor must deem your treatment is required to improve or maintain your health.
- Preventive services: Medicare-approved screenings and other preventive services are covered and generally at no-cost
Part B can also cover wheelchairs and other medically necessary equipment. Items like these are known as durable medical equipment.
How to enroll in Medicare Part B?
Are you or a loved one turning 65 and looking to enroll in Medicare? You’ll want to know when to enroll, and how. As a starting point, find your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) and mark it on your calendar. This is your first chance to sign up for Medicare. It’s a seven-month window that begins three months before your birth month. Enrolling in Part B during your IEP can pay off — enrolling late means you could be stuck paying late enrollment penalties for as long as you have a Part B plan.
There’s plenty more to know about enrolling in Medicare Part B, including how to sign up and what your options are.
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How does Medicare calculate my Part B premium and Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA)?
When you enroll, your IRMAA, if you pay one, will be based on your tax returns from two years prior. That year’s income will be used to determine how much IRMAA you’ll have to pay each month on top of your Part B premium. For example, 2022 Part B premiums are based on 2020 tax returns.
Do Part B costs remain the same after I enroll? Or do they increase each year?
Your Part B costs will change each year based on data collected by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). This generally means increases in your premium and deductible. Coinsurance, though, typically remains at 20% of Medicare-approved costs each year.
If I enroll in Medicare Advantage, will I still pay a Part B premium?
This depends on your plan. Some insurance companies will include the Part B premium in what you pay each month for your Medicare Advantage policy. Others will pay the cost of the Part B premium and charge you a reduced rate. If you’re on Medicare Advantage and want to find out what you have, give your insurance company a call. If you’re nearing 65 and are curious about your options, give GoHealth a call. Our licensed insurance agents will see which plans are available, and how much they’ll charge you for Part B coverage.
Whether you choose Original Medicare (Parts A and B) or Medicare Advantage, you’ll receive at least the same level of care; Medicare Advantage must match Part B’s coverage, but often offers more benefits.