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Medicare Part B: Advantages and When to Enroll

In all my years working with Medicare individuals in various situations, my answer is almost always a resounding yes.

Medicare Part B helps fill in important coverage gaps that can result in unexpected costs, especially as you age and need more preventative care.  

Medicare Part B definition

What is Medicare Part B?

Medicare Part B is a crucial component of the Medicare program, covering 80% of medically necessary services and preventative services. Those services include the following, and more.

  • Doctor visits

  • Lab tests

  • Screening colonoscopies

  • Prostate cancer screenings

  • Mammograms

  • Physical therapy

  • Cataract surgery

  • Most Vaccines

  • Ambulance services

  • Durable medical equipment (equipment used in your home)

  • Some mental health services

Additionally, having both Part A and B is required to qualify for Medicare Advantage.

While Part B is optional, it is useful to cover services that Medicare Part A does not include. Because of its additional coverage, Part B does come at an additional cost. 

Standard Part B premium in 2024 is $174 (but will be adjusted if gross income is above $97,000 if you are filing individually in 2023 or $194,000 if filing jointly).

What are the advantages of Part B?

  1. No yearly out-of-pocket limit.  Medicare Part B does not have a yearly limit for out-of-pocket expenses. While Part B covers 80% of your healthcare costs, you may want to consider purchasing a supplemental plan to help cover the remaining 20% and protect yourself from potential financial strain.

  2. Freedom of choice. With Medicare Part B, you have the flexibility to seek care from any Medicare-enrolled doctor, healthcare provider, hospital, or facility nationwide. Your provider and/or supplier must file your claims for the covered services and supplies you receive. This nationwide coverage ensures that you can access quality care wherever you are in the United States, providing peace of mind during travel or relocation.

  3. Preventative care coverage. Enrolling in Part B ensures that you pay nothing for essential preventive services such as screening colonoscopies, flu shots, mammograms, prostate cancer screenings, and more. These services are critical for maintaining your health and detecting potential issues early on.

Medicare patient receiving a check-up

Why is it important to sign up for Part B when you first become eligible?

It is best to sign up for Medicare Part B within seven months of becoming eligible for Medicare, either on your 65th birthday or when you have a disability that makes you unable to work for at least a year. If you do not sign up within the first seven months, your premium will increase for life. 

Enrolling in Medicare Part B when you become eligible gives you access to comprehensive coverage of essential services for the most affordable premium possible.

If you have any questions or want to discuss enrolling in Medicare Part B, please reach out. We recommend scheduling an appointment before your 65th birthday. We are here to provide guidance, answer your questions, and help you make informed decisions about your healthcare coverage.

This blog is not intended to provide advice. It is purely informational. Please consult one of our licensed health insurance agents to receive personalized guidance. 541-426-4206.

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