Sign Up: Within 8 Months After The Active Duty Service Member Retires
- Most people dont have to pay a premium for Part A . So, you might want to sign up for Part A when you turn 65, even if the active duty service member is still working.
- Youll pay a monthly premium for Part B , so you might want to wait to sign up for Part B.
Avoid the penalty & gap in coverageIf you miss this 8-month Special Enrollment Period, youll have to wait to sign up and go months without coverage. You might also pay a monthly penalty for as long as you have Part B. The penalty goes up the longer you wait to sign up. How much is the Part B late enrollment penalty?
I Want To Delay Part B
If you qualify and decide you want to delay enrolling in Medicare Part B, you should not face any late enrollment penalties for Part B. When you lose your employer coverage, you will get an 8-month Special Enrollment Period during which to enroll in Medicare Part B, and Part A if you havent done so already.
Youll also be able to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan or Part D prescription drug plan in the first two months of this period. Note: if you enroll in Part C or Part D after the first two months of your Special Enrollment Period, you may face late enrollment penalties for Part D. Youll want to also ensure you provide proof of creditable coverage when you enroll in Part D.
You do not need to notify Medicare that you will be delaying Part B unless you are already receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits.
How Much Medicare Part B Will Pay
In addition to the monthly Part B premium, you may have to pay other costs for the services described above. Medicare has rules about how much it will pay for each of the Part B services.
Medicare will pay the entire costs of some services, like flu shots.
For other services, like mental health, Medicare will pay for 80% of the cost.
For most services, Medicare will pay for 80% while you pay the remaining 20% . This is called coinsurance.
For most Part B services, Medicare will help pay only after youve spent a certain amount of money for the year on medical services. This is the yearly deductible, and its $233 in 2022.
Medicare may help pay for occupational therapy to help you return to daily living activities.
Lets say that you havent received any medical services for the year and your doctor prescribes occupational therapy at a cost of $333 .
Since you havent paid your deductible yet, you would have to pay the first $233.
After that, theres still $100 left to pay . And since coinsurance applies, Medicare would pay for 80% of the remaining $100. So Medicare would pay $80 and youd pay another $20.
Lets say later in that same year, you are having balance problems and your doctor decides you need a balance exam. This is also covered by Medicare. But since you have already paid your $233 deductible for the year, you would only need to pay coinsurance for this exam.
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Medicare Offers More Free Preventive Services
Medicare beneficiaries can receive a number of free preventive services. You get an annual free “wellness” visit to develop or update a personalized prevention plan. Beneficiaries also get a free cardiovascular screening every five years, annual mammograms, annual flu shots, and screenings for cervical, prostate and colorectal cancers.
Medicare Part B Outpatient Physical Therapy Coverage
Original Medicare Part B covers medically necessary physical therapy. Medicare patients must first meet the Part B deductible, which is $198 in 2020. Once patients hit their deductible, Medicare covers 80% of in-network physical therapy costs.
Extra requirements for physical therapy coverage include:
- A physician or qualified physical therapist establishes the treatment plan
- A physician reviews the treatment plan time to time
- The physical therapy patient is under physician care while undergoing treatment
Before 2018, there was a cap on how long Original Medicare would cover physical therapy. Medicare replaced this cap with a coverage cost threshold.
In 2020, Original Medicare covers physical therapy up to $2,080. What happens when a patient meets the threshold? Their physician must deem the treatments medically necessary to continue getting Medicare coverage.
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When You Should Consider Enrolling In Medicare Part B
If you qualify to delay enrolling in Medicare, deciding to do so is a personal choice.
Some may choose to delay, and for others, it may still be a good fit for your health and lifestyle to enroll in Part B. Consider the following when trying to decide whether to enroll in Part B or delay while still working:
- Is Medicare less expensive than your current health insurance?
- Does Medicare offer better coverage than your current health insurance?
- Do you want to keep your current insurance but also take advantage of Medicare benefits
- Do you want to enroll in either a Medigap or Medicare Advantage plan?
- Is your prescription drug coverage considered creditable by Medicare?
Answering the above questions can help you decide whether or not to delay enrollment. Its important to carefully consider the last item regarding prescription drug coverage. While most employer coverage is considered creditable, you should still verify if it is or could end up facing a late enrollment penalty for Medicare Part D.
Do I Need Medicare Part B If I Have Other Insurance
Many people ask if they should sign up for Medicare Part B when they have other insurance or private insurance. At a large employer with 20 or more employees, your employer plan is primary. Medicare is secondary, so you can delay Part B until you retired if you want to.
Keep in mind that both parts of Medicare can coordinate with large employer coverage to reduce your spending. Youll need to decide whether you want to enroll in Part B or delay it until later.
Most people delay Part B in this scenario. Your employer plan likely already provides good outpatient coverage. Part B costs at least $170.10/month for new enrollees in 2022. You can avoid that cost by simply delaying your Part B enrollment until you retire.
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Can I Delay Enrolling In Medicare Part B
Some people may get Medicare Part A premium-free, but most people have to pay a monthly premium for Medicare Part B. Because Medicare Part B comes with a monthly premium, some people may choose not to sign up during their initial enrollment period if they are currently covered under an employer group plan .
If you are still working, you should check with your health benefits administrator to see how your insurance would work with Medicare. If you delay enrollment in Medicare Part B because you already have current employer health coverage, you can sign up later during a Special Enrollment Period without paying a late penalty. You can enroll in Medicare Part B at any time that you are still covered by a group plan based on current employment. After your employer health coverage ends or your employment ends , you have an eight-month special enrollment period to sign up for Part B without a late penalty.
Keep in mind that retiree coverage and COBRA are not considered health coverage based on current employment and would not qualify you for a special enrollment period. If you have COBRA after your employer coverage ends, you should not wait until your COBRA coverage ends to sign up for Medicare Part B. Your eight-month Part B special enrollment period begins immediately after your current employment or group plan ends . This is regardless of whether you get COBRA.
This information is not a complete description of benefits. Contact the plan for more information.
What Medicare Part B Will Pay For
For the most part, Medicare Part B will only help pay for the above services in certain situations. Medicares general rule is that it will only pay for things that it finds medically necessary.
Medicares general rule is that it will only pay for things that it finds medically necessary.Part B may only pay for some things if you have certain risk factors, or it might only help pay for a certain number of things in a given time period . Other services are offered every year.
The equipment and supplies must be bought through a certified Medicare supplier.
Some services are only covered in very specific situations. For example, Medicare Part B will pay for eyeglasses only if you need them after a specific type of cataract surgery.
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How Does Medicare Part B Compare With Other Plans
Your choice of plan will depend on your individual needs.
You can decide to get an Advantage plan instead of Medicare parts A, B, and D if you choose.
Medicare Advantage plans vary both from Medicare Part B and from each other. They may have different costs, rules, and restrictions associated with them.
For example, some Medicare Advantage plans restrict the doctors you can see to an in-network group. Medicare Part B may have a larger pool of doctors for you to choose from.
Keep in mind that youre not obligated to remain with your Medicare plan choice if you find that it doesnt suit you, if your needs change, or for any reason.
You can opt for a different Medicare plan during open enrollment periods annually . This will allow you to shift from original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan or vice versa.
During open enrollment periods, you can also add services such as Medicare Part D and Medicare supplemental insurance plans .
- Medicare Part B covers outpatient care, such as doctor visits.
- Part B includes medically necessary care and preventive care.
- You will pay an annual deductible and monthly premium for Medicare Part B.
Medicare plan options and costs are subject to change each year.
How To Apply Online For Just Medicare
If you are within three months of turning age 65 or older and not ready to start your monthly Social Security benefits yet, you can use our online retirement application to sign up just for Medicare and wait to apply for your retirement or spouses benefits later. It takes less than 10 minutes, and there are no forms to sign and usually no documentation is required.
To find out what documents and information you need to apply, go to the .
Medicare Part B Enrollment: How Do I Get Medicare Part B
To be eligible for Medicare, you must be a United States citizen or legal permanent resident of at least five continuous years and 65 years or older. You can also be eligible for Medicare before 65 if youve been receiving disability benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board for at least two years, or if you have end-stage renal disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis .
Like other parts of Medicare, there are rules concerning when youre eligible and when you can sign up for coverage. If youre already receiving retirement benefits before you turn 65, you may be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A and/or Part B the month that you turn 65. Youre also automatically enrolled in Medicare if youve been receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board disability benefits for at least two years youll be automatically enrolled in the 25th month of disability benefits. Those who qualify for Medicare because of end-stage renal disease must manually sign up for Part B.
You can also sign up for Medicare Part B during the following periods:
You can enroll in Medicare Part B through Social Security in the following ways:
- Online at SSA.gov. If youre not yet ready to apply for retirement benefits, you can apply for Medicare only.
- In-person at a local Social Security office.
Medicare Advantage Vs Medigap
People who only have Medicare Parts A, B, and D may incur sizable bills not covered by Medicare. To close these gaps, recipients can enroll in some form of Medigap insurance or in a Medicare Advantage plan .
One important thing to know about Medigap: It only supplements Medicare and is not a stand-alone policy. If your doctor doesn’t take Medicare, Medigap insurance will not pay for the procedure.
Insurance agents are not allowed to sell Medigap to participants of Part C, Medicare Advantage.
Medigap coverage is standardized by Medicare but offered by private insurance companies. According to, Patrick Traverse, founder of MoneyCoach, Mt. Pleasant, S.C.,
“I recommend that my clients purchase Medigap policies to cover their needs. Even though the premiums are higher, it is much easier to plan for them than what could be a large out-of-pocket outlay they might have to face if they had lesser coverage.”
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Medicare Part B Covered Services
Medicare Part B covers two basic types of care, preventive services and medically necessary services and devices.
Preventive care is typically covered by Part B and includes most diagnostic tests ordered by a doctor, certain doctors office visits and health screenings. Flu shots and some other vaccines are also usually included as covered services for most seniors.
Medically necessary services covered under Part B are extensive and cover a wide range of care.
Part B pays most of the cost of a wide range of medical procedures done in an outpatient clinic or office visit. Ambulance rides are a provided benefit under Part B, though inpatient treatment at an emergency department is paid for as an element of Part A hospital insurance if you are admitted for inpatient care.
Durable medical equipment that is considered medically necessary can be covered by Part B. This can include orthopedic devices, mobility equipment such as wheelchairs and walkers, prosthetic devices, and medical appliances, such as CPAP machines. Part B may also pay for some disposable medical supplies, such as wound dressings and diabetes testing equipment.
Some specialist services are paid for under Part B. Physical and occupational therapy are contained within the Part B insurance framework, as are rehab services and some drug and alcohol counseling. Home visits from nurses and therapists are Part B services, as are education services such as diabetes education and helper animal training.
Medicare Part D: Prescription Drugs
Prescription drug coverage, known as Part D, is also administered by private insurance companies. Part D is optional and is normally included in any Medicare Advantage plan. Depending on your plan, you may have to meet a yearly deductible before your plan begins covering your eligible drug costs. Some Part D plans have a co-pay.
Medicare prescription drug plans have a coverage gapa temporary limit on what the drug plan will cover. The coverage gap is often called the “doughnut hole,” and this gap kicks in after you and your plan have spent a certain amount in combined costs. For example, in 2022 the donut hole occurs once you and your insurer combined have spent $4,430 on prescriptions.
Once you have paid $7,050 in out-of-pocket costs for covered drugs, you have reached the level of “catastrophic coverage,” for 2022 in out-of-pocket costs for covered drugs. This means you are out of the prescription drug “donut hole” and your prescription drug coverage begins paying for most of your drug expenses again.
Many states have insurance options that will close the coverage gap, but these may require paying an additional premium.
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Does Medicare Cover Physical Therapy
Medicare does cover physical therapy for members.
Original Medicare Part A covers inpatient rehabilitation care, including physical therapy. Outpatient physical therapy patients can get coverage under Original Medicare Part B.
Seniors can also receive physical therapy coverage under Medicare Advantage plans. These are private Medicare plans.
Adults aged 65+ can sign up for Medicare Advantage with private insurance companies. By law, these private plans must offer the same coverage Original Medicare offers.
Should I Enroll In Medigap
While Medicare Part B will most likely pay for most of your outpatient medical expenses, you’ll have to pay the deductible and coinsurance when you receive services that are covered under Part B, resulting in some out-of-pocket costs.
There is no cap on how high those costs can be commercial insurance plans have caps on out-of-pocket costs, but Original Medicare does not.
Many Medicare beneficiaries have supplemental coverage from an employer or retiree plan, or from Medicaid. If you don’t have access to one of these, you’ll want to consider purchasing a Medigap plan to help pay these out-of-pocket costs. A Medigap plan will pay some or all of the deductible and coinsurance charges that go along with Medicare Part A and Part B, for services that are covered under Original Medicare.
If you became eligible for Medicare after January 1, 2020, you can’t purchase Medigap plans that cover the Part B deductible. But it’s still possible to purchase a Medigap plan that will cover all of the rest of your out-of-pocket charges for Part A and Part B .
If you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, your out-of-pocket costs will be capped . Medigap plans cannot be used in conjunction with Medicare Advantage.
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Am I Eligible For Medicare Part B
Anyone who is eligible for premium-free Medicare Part A is eligible for Medicare Part B by enrolling and paying a monthly premium. If you are not eligible for premium-free Medicare Part A, you can qualify for Medicare Part B by meeting the following requirements:
- You must be 65 years or older.
- You must be a U.S. citizen, or a permanent resident lawfully residing in the U.S for at least five continuous years.
You may also qualify for automatic Medicare Part B enrollment through disability. If you are under 65 and receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board disability benefits, you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B after 24 months of disability benefits. You may also be eligible for Medicare Part B enrollment before 65 if you have end-stage renal disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis .