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Medicare Part B

Part B is a part of Original Medicare that provides benefits for doctor services and other health care providers, outpatient care, and durable medical equipment, such as wheelchairs, walkers and hospital beds.  

It also covers many preventative services, such as mammograms and flu shots. 

Part B covers some medical services not covered under Part A, such as certain types of occupational therapy, physical therapy, mental healthcare and home healthcare services. Additionally, coverage under Part B includes ambulance services, cancer treatments, and diagnostic imaging.

Part B Eligibility

You are eligible for Part B when turning 65 if you have worked and paid taxes for 40 quarters (10 years) and are a legal resident.  You can also be the spouse of a person that meets these guidelines to receive Part B benefits. Read more about Part B eligibility on our Medicare Eligibility page.

Part B Costs

The 2021 premium for Part B is $148.50.  However, if your income is above $88,000 individually or above $176,000 jointly, you will pay an income adjustment that will increase your monthly premium.  Read more about costs associated to Part B and IRMAA on our Medicare Costs page.

Part B Enrollment

When can you sign up for Part B?

You can sign up for Part B when you become eligible, which is the age of 65.  You have a 7-month Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) to sign up. Part B coverage is optional; however, it is required should you want to enroll in a Medigap policy or a Medicare Advantage plan. 

Read more about Part B enrollment on our Medicare Enrollment page.

In most cases, if you don’t sign up for Part B when you’re first eligible, you may have a delay in getting Medicare coverage in the future, and you also may have to pay a late enrollment penalty for as long as you have Part B.

What is I am already receiving Social Security or Railroad benefits?

Medicare eligible seniors will be automatically enrolled in Parts B starting their 65th birth month if they are already receiving social security benefits or the Railroad Retirement Board (BRB).  These recipients will receive their Medicare card approximately three months before their 65th birth month. 

Should someone receiving retirement benefits choose not to enroll in Part B when first eligible, they will need to take action to defer Part B by contacting Social Security. 

If these individuals do elect to enroll into Part B, they will be billed for Part B beginning on their 65th birth month. Read more about delaying Part B enrollment on our Medicare Enrollment page.

Are you close to age 65 but electing not
to receive Social Security?

You can first apply for Medicare Parts B three months before your 65th birthday and continue to have the option until 3 months past your 65th birth month. Read more about Part B enrollment on our Medicare Enrollment page.

What Does Part B Not Cover?

Part B coverage will pay for a large amount of your health expenses, but not all of it. The following will be out-of-pocket costs that you are responsible for, unless you purchase a Medigap policy to offset these expenses:

✓ Physical exams other than your annual wellness visit

✓ Routine foot care

✓ Acupuncture, naturopathy

✓ Cosmetic surgery

✓ Hearing aids

✓ Dentures and denture care

✓ Medicare care outside of the United States