How Much Does Medicare Part B Cost?

Medicare Part B Premiums

Medicare Part B requires the payment of monthly premiums. These premiums are deducted from your monthly Social Security check. Premiums are determined by when you joined Medicare and by how much your income was two years prior to retiring. Individuals who have a high gross adjusted income before they retire will pay higher premiums than other Medicare Part B recipients.

The current premium for most people is $115.40. For people who enrolled in 2010 the monthly premium is $110.50 and for people who enrolled in 2009 the premium is $96.40. For high wage earners the premiums increase according to a stepped basis based on income. The current charges for are:

  • Enrolled 2011 (income $85,001-$107,000 single, $170,001- $214,000) $161.50
  • Enrolled 2011 (income $107,001-$160,000 single, $214,001-$320,000) $230.70
  • Enrolled 2011 (income $160,001-$214,000 single, $320,001-$428,000) $299.90
  • Enrolled 2011 (income above $214,001 single, above $428,000) $369.10

Medicare Part B Coinsurance and Deductibles

Medicare Part B also includes coinsurance, copays and deductibles. The deductible for 2011 is currently $162.00 per year plus 20% of all services approved by Medicare. Mental Health is currently rated at 55%.

Advantage Part B Costs

Advantage Part B costs are more difficult to calculate because Part B is bundled with Part A and additional services into Medicare Advantage Plans. Advantage Plans can cost more or less than Part B Plans. However, most Advantage Plans are less expensive than Original Part B Medicare because patients are required to use a provider network. Currently the national average bid amount for 2011 is $87.05. For 2012 the national average monthly bid amount is projected to be $84.50.

Part B Costs are Dependant on Medicare Approved Services and Providers

Whether you are using an Original Medicare Part B Plan or an Advantage Plan how much you will pay out of pocket depends on which providers you use and what types of services you receive. Medicare only pays at the 80% level for approved services and providers. Medicare Assignment doctors are the best doctor's to use from a payment perspective. Assignment doctors are familiar with Medicare and they have agreed to accept Medicare's approved amounts as the highest amounts they will charge for a service or procedure. The end result is that the patient ends up paying a lot less out-of-pocket. The worst type of doctors and providers to use with Medicare are private contract doctors. When a patient enters into a private contract relationship they are agreeing to pay the doctor directly and are acknowledging that Medicare will not pay any of the costs associated with care.

Part A and Part B Services Not Covered by Medicare will Increase Costs

Patient out-of-pocket expenses are directly related to services not covered by Medicare. A patient will have to pay the entire costs of these services. Here is a short list of some of the medical procedures that are not covered by Medicare:

  • Deductibles, coinsurance, or copayments.
  • Routine dental care and dentures.
  • Routine hearing test and aids.
  • Routine foot care including orthopedic shoes unless diabetic related.
  • Routine eye exams and most eyeglasses. One standard pair is paid for and one pair of lenses is provided for intraocular cataract surgery patients.
  • Custodial care or long term care.
  • Health care received outside of the United States.
  • Outpatient prescription drugs (some exceptions).
  • Certain screening tests and vaccinations.
  • Acupuncture.
  • Cosmetic surgery.