Many seniors are declining Medicare Part B due to rising premiums. Medicare Part B is the most expensive Medicare program and you may wonder if it’s worth it. We will explain what Medicare Part B is and why it may not be necessary for everyone.
Medicare Part B is quite different from Medicare Part A and Medicare Part D. Medicare Part A is a free health insurance program for seniors and covers basic inpatient hospital services. In contrast to Medicare Part A, Medicare Part B charges a premium of at least 110.50 and covers doctor visits and other outpatient treatments. Medicare Part D is sold by private insurance companies, costs $10-50 a month, and is designed to help pay for prescription drug costs.
Once a person reaches 65 years of age, their individual health insurance plans are discontinued and in some states made secondary to Medicare. Seniors who have individual health insurance places—not through their employer—should sign up Medicare Part B. Seniors who have health insurance through their employer may or may not need Medicare Part B. If the employer has more than 20 workers then the senior will keep their existing health insurance until the coverage term expires. If the employer has less than 20 workers then the senior will lose his/her existing health insurance. Therefore, a senior who works for an employer who employs more than 20 workers should not immediately sign up for Medicare Part B.
HMO’s are another option that are becoming popular as premiums for Medicare Part B rise. Enrolling in an HMO can have its perks. An HMO may cover a wider range of treatments, more days in the hospital and better quality care than a Medicare Part B plan. An HMO requires a patient to utilize a specific network of doctors and hospitals in order to receive full benefits. However, the cost and quality of HMO’s vary widely which you should take into account.