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What is Medicare Part B?


Medicare Part B helps cover medical services like doctors’ services, outpatient care, and other medical services that Part A doesn’t cover. Part B is optional. Part B helps pay for covered medical services and items when they are medically necessary. Part B also covers some preventive services like exams, lab tests, and screening shots to help prevent, find, or manage a medical problem.

Cost: Most people will pay the standard monthly Part B premium of $93.50 for 2007. However, starting January 1, 2007, some people will pay a higher premium based on their modified adjusted gross income. If you file an individual tax return and your annual income is more than $80,000 (or if you are married (file a joint tax return) and your annual income is more than $160,000), your monthly Medicare Part B premium may be higher than the standard 2007 monthly premium of $93.50. These amounts change each year. In some cases, your monthly premium amount may be higher if you didn’t sign up for Part B when you first became eligible. The cost of Part B may go up 10% for each 12-month period that you could have had Part B but didn’t sign up for it. You will have to pay this extra amount as long as you have Part B, except in special cases.

For more information about enrolling in Medicare, look in your copy of the “Medicare & You” handbook, call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213, or visit your local Social Security office. If you get benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB), call your local RRB office or 1-800-808-0772.

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Last Updated: 6/2/2008