Medicare Part B covers medical care provided in a doctor’s office and other outpatient services. It also covers Medicare-approved durable medical equipment (DME) and medications administered with a doctor’s supervision, such as chemotherapy drugs.
Medicare Part B deductible
The Part B deductible for 2020 is $198, up from $185 in 2019. Unless you have a Medigap plan that covers the Part B deductible. you’ll have to pay this full amount before Medicare will begin to cover bills for your medical care.
Part B premiums
The monthly premium for Medicare Part B for 2020 is $144.60, up from $135.50 in 2019.
If you’re already receiving one of the following retirement benefits, it’s likely that your Part B premium will be automatically deducted from that check each month:
- Social Security
- Railroad Retirement Board
- Office of Personnel Management
If you don’t receive any of these retirement benefits, you’ll receive a monthly bill online or in the mail.
If you are a high-income earner, you may pay a little more for your monthly premium. This is an Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMMA), also known as a surcharge. Your surcharge is based on your tax returns from two years prior. For example, your 2020 surcharge will be determined based on your 2018 tax returns.
Part B coinsurance
Part B uses the 80/20 rule for coinsurance rates. That means for Medicare-approved services, items, and tests, Medicare will typically cover 80 percent, and you will be responsible for the remaining 20 percent.
The Part B deductible also applies, but once you’ve paid it, you likely will not owe anything at your doctor’s office (like a copay) during the point of service unless you have an outstanding bill.
Part B coverage
Medical services covered by Part B generally fall into two categories: preventative services and tests, and those deemed medically necessary by your doctor. Most preventative services are either free or very inexpensive as long as your doctor accepts Medicare assignment.
Part B also covers:
- Ambulance services
- Durable medical equipment, like walkers or orthotic braces
- Doctor-administered prescription drugs
Because 99 percent of doctors practicing in the United States accept Original Medicare, your doctor may know if your treatment will be covered if you ask ahead of time. You can also find out if Medicare covers your test, item, or service here. Either way, make sure you go into your medical treatment fully informed so you don’t receive any surprise bills.