Medicare Part B
Medicare Part B is administered directly by the federal government and is one half of what's referred to as Original Medicare (the combination of Medicare Part A and Part B). Part B is also referred to as Medical Insurance, and it covers medically necessary services and or supplies. Under Medicare Part B, these services are required to meet the accepted standards of medical practice.
What does Medicare Part B cover?
Medicare Part B offers coverage on the following medical services:
- Ambulance services: transport and travel to and from certain locations
- Chiropractic care (in medically necessary circumstances)
- Diagnostic tests/lab work
- Doctors' services
- Durable Medical Equipment (DME)
- Home health services
- Outpatient physical, speech, and occupational therapy services provided by a Medicare-certified physical, speech, or occupational therapist
- Outpatient mental health services
- Preventive care services
- Skilled nursing and/or therapy services
- "Welcome to Medicare" physical exam
How do I get Medicare Part B?
Anyone who wants this coverage will pay a monthly premium to have Part B insurance. You may sign up for it during the following periods:
- Initial Enrollment Period (IEP): This is when you first enroll in Medicare. Your Initial Enrollment Period is determined by your age. It begins three months before you turn age 65 and lasts for seven months.
- General Enrollment Period (GEP) : This occurs from January 1 to March 31 annually. If you enroll in Part B during a General Enrollment Period, your coverage will go into effect on July 1 of the year in which you signed up. Your Medicare Part B premium may see a 10% increase for every 12 month period that you could have had Medicare Part B, but elected not take it.
- Special Enrollment Period (SEP) : You might have opted delay your Medicare Part B enrollment. If you decided you did not want this coverage when it was first available to you because you or your spouse were working and had a group health coverage, you may sign up for Medicare Part B during a Special Enrollment Period for which you qualify. You can enroll any time you and your spouse remain covered by the group health plan, or during the eight months following the month when the employer coverage ends.
You can enroll in Medicare Part B contacting the Social Security Administration through their website online or by phone by calling 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).