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Medicare Part B

Medicare Part B is the medical portion of Original Medicare. This includes coverage for services provided by your doctors that are preventive and medically necessary.

What Does Medicare Part B Cover?

Medicare Part B Coverage

Part B provides coverage for a mixture of outpatient medical services. This includes coverage for preventive vaccines, cancer screenings, annual lab work, and much more.

It will cover preventive services in addition to specialist services. Part B even covers services for mental healthcare, durable medical equipment that your doctor finds medically necessary.

Also, Part B will cover some services you receive while in the hospital. This includes surgeries, diagnostic imaging, chemotherapy, and dialysis if you obtain drugs while at the hospital, it will also provide coverage for those.

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What Does Medicare Part B Not Cover?

Part B does not provide dental or vision benefits. It also doesn’t cover anything not considered medically necessary or preventive. Additionally, it won’t cover prescriptions taken at home or long-term care. 

How Much Does Medicare Part B Cost?

The out-of-pocket costs for Part B include a premium, deductible, and coinsurance. Part B will cover 80% of your medical expenses once you’ve met the annual deductible. You must pay the monthly premium for Part B. Most beneficiaries will pay the standard monthly premium. Those in a higher income bracket will pay more.

In 2022, the Part B premium is $170.10 a month. If you receive Social Security, Railroad Retirement Board, or Office of Personnel Management benefit payments, your Part B premium will be deducted from your monthly check. Part B has an annual deductible of $233. This deductible can slightly increase each year.

If you don’t receive Social Security, you could get a monthly bill from Medicare. They have an online payment option called Easy Pay for those with a MyMedicare account.

Does Medicare Part B cover 100 Percent?

Part B covers 80% of your medical costs and also comes with an annual deductible and monthly premium.

Medicare Part B Coverage Chart

Does Medicare Part B Have a Copay?

No, Medicare Part B does not come with copays.

Who Qualifies for Free Medicare Part B?

If you’re a lower-income beneficiary and are dual-eligible for both Medicare & Medicaid, you may be eligible for a Medicare Savings Program that will pay all or most of your Part B premium.

How to Sign Up for Medicare Part B

Beneficiaries collecting Social Security benefits when they age into Medicare at 65 will automatically be enrolled. You’ll receive your Medicare card the month before your birthday. If you’re not collecting Social Security benefits, you’ll need to enroll yourself. You can apply online, over the phone, or in-person.

All beneficiaries will have an Initial Enrollment Period for both Part A & Part B. This period begins three months before the month you turn 65th birthday and ends three months after. If you don’t enroll during your Initial Enrollment Period and don’t have creditable coverage, you could be subject to a penalty.

You won’t pay the penalty if you meet certain conditions that allow you to sign up for Part B during a Special Enrollment Period. An example would be if you continued working past 65 and had creditable coverage through an employer group health insurance.

How to Reinstate Medicare Part B

Go to website and log into your account. Complete the application and include all the required documents. You can track the status in your dashboard.


Does Medicare Part B cover prescriptions?
Part B will cover prescriptions administered in an outpatient setting.
How long does it take to get Part B after applying
It can take up to 30-60 days to be approved if you’re applying outside your initial enrollment period and not automatically enrolled.
Am I required to pay the Part B deductible upfront
No, your doctor will need to bill Medicare first. Then, Medicare will then bill you for the deductible. When you pay this upfront, Medicare has no record of it, and you’re still expected to meet the deductible.
Can I sign up for Medicare Part B online?
Yes, you can sign up for Part B online at
Do you pay the Part B premium with Medicare Advantage?
Yes, you still must pay the monthly premium for Part B when you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. Some plans do come with a premium reduction benefit.
Do I have to pay for Medicare Part B if I have other insurance?
Depending on the insurance you have, you might be able to delay Medicare Part B without penalty.
How do I avoid the Medicare Part B premium?
The only way to avoid paying the Part B premium is to qualify for a Medicare Savings Program.
Does Medicare Part B cover glasses?
No, Medicare Part B will not cover the cost of glasses. Some Medicare Advantage plans may provide some benefits for glasses.
Do you have to pay for Medicare Part B if you have an Advantage plan?
Yes, you still have to pay the monthly Part B premium to have an Advantage plan.
Does everyone pay the same for Medicare Part B?
Most beneficiaries pay the same amount for Medicare Part B. However, those in a higher-income bracket do pay more as well as those in a lower income bracket may get assistance with paying their Part B premium.
Can I add Medicare Part B at any time?
No, there are two enrollment windows to enroll in Part B unless you have a special circumstance. The first opportunity to enroll is during your Initial Enrollment Period, the second opportunity is during the annual General Enrollment Period.
Is Medicare Part B based on income?
No, eligibility for Part B is not based on income. It’s based on your age or disability.

How to Get Help with Medicare Part B

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Jagger Esch

Jagger Esch is the Medicare expert for MedicareFAQ and the founder, president, and CEO of Elite Insurance Partners and Since the inception of his first company in 2012, he has been dedicated to helping those eligible for Medicare by providing them with resources to educate themselves on all their Medicare options. He is featured in many publications as well as writes regularly for other expert columns regarding Medicare.

32 thoughts on “Medicare Part B

  1. I have Medicare part A, my husband will retire in April at age 66 and 6 months, when should I apply for Medicare part B and can apply online I was told because I have part A I couldn’t apply online

    1. Shirley, you can apply for Part B up to 3 months before you want it to be active. You will need to call Social Security to complete your enrollment.

  2. I just signed up to start receiving SS Feb. 1, 2022, my 65 birthday. I checked off that I wanted Medicare Part B and I also have health insurance thru my husband’s company. Do I need to do anything else??

    1. Hi Pauline – we recommend taking Part A because it is premium-free if you’ve worked and paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years. If you have insurance through your husband’s company, you can actually waive Part B if the employer insurance is creditable. It will be creditable if the company has at least 20 employees.

  3. I will be 65 in Feb 2022 and will keep working until I am 66 1/2 in 2023. I am keeping my group health insurance through work until I retire. As required, I just signed up for Medicare Part A. Do I have to sign up for Part B now or can I wait until my retirement year without penalty?

    1. Hi Penny – Part A is not required but it is very strongly recommended that you take it, so it’s good that you did. Whether you can wait to sign up for Part B without penalty depends on whether your group health insurance through work is creditable. If your employer has fewer than 20 employees, you will face a penalty for delaying Part B. On the other hand, health insurance through an employer with 20 or more employees is creditable and you can waive Part B penalty-free until your retirement. Then, you will get a Special Enrollment Period for (voluntary) loss of coverage.

  4. I live in Michigan and retired from Ford motor Company and collecting social security
    and have Medicare part A and B why is it that I have to have a private insurance
    such as a company called in Michigan HAP what does it cover Thanks

    1. Hi Joseph – what you’re describing is a Medicare Advantage plan. You are not required to have private insurance in addition to Medicare; if you prefer, you can keep Original Medicare. In that case, you’ll need to cover the 20% coinsurance for Part A and Part B. If you want 100% coverage, Medicare Supplement plans are available for the price of a monthly premium.

  5. Hi, I’m currently on Medicare Part A and Part B. I also have group health insurance through my employer. We’re a small group, under 20 employees and our group insurance company previously required insureds to have Part B if they are eligible for Medicare. Recently the group insurance company sent a letter advising that they are changing how they coordinate benefits for Medicare Part B. The letter states beginning 01/01/2022 if I am not enrolled in Part B, the group insurance will be the primary payer. Our company’s insurance broker recommends I disenroll in Part B to save on the cost of the premiums. I’m hesitant to do so because of the potential penalty in the future for late enrollment. Your thoughts? Thank you.

  6. I have been on SSDI since 2014 and was briefly taken off from Aug 2019 until Aug 2020, since I tried to go back to work. I was informed since my SSDI was cancelled my Medicare parts A & B we’re also cancelled.
    Once my SSDI was reinstated, Aug 2020, my premium ($148.50) has never been taken out of my monthly check. says I have original Medicare. I’m assuming Part A only?
    Do I need to somehow add Part B before I apply for an Advantage Plan? If so, will I be required to repay the monthly premium for the year I want receiving Medicare? I have gotten so many different answers I’m not sure what my ideal route needs to be.
    Also do I absolutely need Part B?

    1. Hi Dennis – if you want to join an Advantage plan, you will first need to enroll in Part B. Now, whether you’re required to pay back the monthly premium will be determined by Social Security. Ultimately, it depends on whether your Part B is backdated or if they give you a new effective date.

  7. My husband will retire in a few months. His union offers an Aetna medicare indemnity PPO. How does this fit in with the Medicare parts? It seems like part B with added benefits. Will a part G still pay the 20% that this does not cover?

    1. Hi Marylou – the PPO plan to which you refer is a Medicare Advantage plan. These types of plans stand-in for both Part A and Part B, also providing benefits like dental/vision/hearing and prescription drug coverage. Plan G is a Medigap plan, which you cannot have alongside a Medicare Advantage plan. Additionally, if you choose to go with Medigap, you’ll need to enroll in a standalone Part D plan for prescription drug coverage.

    1. Hi John – for 2021, the Part B deductible is $203. However, that amount is subject to increase in 2022 and the public will soon know next year’s dollar amount.

  8. I will be 65 in September and recently applied for Medicare, however I was just informed that since I will begin drawing my deceased spouse’s Social security first delaying mine until age 70, that I should file for Medicare under her record so the premium payment comes out of my spousal benefit. How do I correct this error?

    1. Hi Brenda! You will want to contact Social Security or Medicare directly to update your account accordingly. You will need to pay your Part B premium through your MyMedicare dashboard until this is updated to avoid a lapse in coverage.

    1. Hi Nick! If you have another form of international health coverage, it may be creditable coverage. There is very limited documentation on what international health insurance is considered creditable under Medicare. You would need to contact Medicare directly to make sure. If you don’t have any coverage, you will be penalized for not enrolling when you were first eligible, even if you are not living in the USA.

  9. Hi, I submitted my online application for Part B medicare (I have part A for a while now) and they received it 6/20/21. I have not received my new medicare card in the mail for A & B as of yet. If I have to see a doctor (currently having some pain) what can I do at this point?

    1. Hi Kathy! Have you created an account in You may be able to see your Medicare number in your dashboard to provide your doctor with.

  10. Hello, if I have only Medicare Part B. Will my outpatient doctor/Clinics visit covered outside my resident State?

    1. Hi Markeya! Yes, Part B will travel with you nationwide. You will have 80% coverage for any outpatient medical costs.

  11. Hello. As a retired Federal employee, I have FEHBP coverage with UHC-MD/IPA., an HMO. I didn’t sign up for Medicare when I became eligible in 2011. The part B premium will cost 148.50 plus a substantial late filing penalty when it kicks in July 2021 as I only signed up for Medicare last summer. Would I be better off dropping Part B? I don’t want to pay more that I have for Part B type services covered by the HMO. Many thanks for your advice.

    1. Hi Larry! Most FEHB plans offer a “coordination of benefits” with Medicare. The coordination cut costs by waiving deductibles, copayments, and coinsurances. Your penalty will continue to increase, the longer you wait to enroll the more your premium will be if you do enroll in the future. So, yes you can drop Part B, but that may not be the best choice in the long run since we cannot predict our healthcare costs. We have more on FEHB and Medicare benefits here.

  12. If you are being billed for part B and are now ready to sign up for SSI will they
    start taking it out of your SSI or do they still bill you.

    1. Hi Norman! If you have a Medicare Advantage plan I would contact your carrier directly to get the correct forms necessary. Normally, you’re responsible for 100% of the cost if the provider is out of network.

  13. How do I submit to Medicare for my provider accepting only at the time of the appointment and does not bill insurance?


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