How do you choose a Medicare Part B plan?


Quick Answer

Traditional Medicare Part B offers no choices in plan type but rather the same standard plan for all Medicare participants, reports Medicare.gov. Medicare enrollees can choose whether to participate in optional Plan B and also whether to enroll when they first become eligible or later.

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Full Answer

Traditional Medicare Part B medical insurance covers the same services for all participants, including doctor visits, lab tests, surgeries, preventive services and durable medical equipment, according to Medicare.gov. Although Medicare Part A hospital insurance is premium-free for most participants, those who choose to participate in Part B must pay a monthly premium. The Part B premium varies depending on the participant's income from a minimum of $104.90 to a maximum of $335.70 as of 2015. Medicare Part B participants also pay part of the cost of some services through deductibles and copayments.

If Medicare participants do not sign up for Part B insurance when they first become eligible at age 65, they can sign up later during yearly general enrollment periods or during special enrollment periods if they qualify, states Medicare.gov. However, unless they qualify as an exception, those who enroll late in Medicare Part B must pay a permanent monthly 10 percent penalty for every 12 months they delay enrollment.

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