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Four ways to save money on your Medicare Part B premiums
Here's how to save money on premiums for Medicare Part B – which covers doctor visits, diagnostics, and preventive care – charges participants a premium.
How does a doctor’s participation in Medicare affect reimbursement?
Medicare reimbursement refers to the payments that hospitals and physicians receive in return for services rendered to Medicare beneficiaries. The reimbursement rates for these services are set by Medicare, and are typically less than the amount billed or the amount that a private insurance company would pay.
Four ways to adjust your Medicare coverage
If you're like most Medicare enrollees, you probably aren't planning to make any changes to your existing coverage for the coming year, but – like most beneficiaries – you should probably at least consider it during Medicare's open enrollment period. And if you have Medicare Advantage, you also have an opportunity to change your coverage between January and March each year.
Important Medicare enrollment dates
Enrollment dates for Medicare are critical. Missing an enrollment date could cost you higher premiums down the line — or it could cost you coverage entirely.
A: Most Medicare-eligible people do not have to pay premiums for Medicare Part A. If you are 65 and you or your spouse has paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years, you don’t pay a premium for Part A.
You may also not have to pay the premium:
If you do have to pay Part A premiums in 2020, you’ll pay either $252/month (if you or your spouse paid Medicare payroll taxes for at least 7.5 years, but fewer than 10 years) or $458/month (if you or your spouse paid Medicare payroll taxes for fewer than 7.5 years). These premiums are adjusted annually.
Everyone pays for Part B of Original Medicare. In 2020, the standard premium is $144.60/month for those making no more than $87,000 per year ($174,000 per year for married couples filing jointly). For 2020, the threshold for having to pay higher premiums based on income increased. (Beneficiaries with higher incomes pay more for Medicare Parts B and D).
People who don’t enroll in Medicare B when first eligible are charged a late enrollment penalty that amounts to a 10 percent increase in premium for each year they were eligible for Medicare B but not enrolled. So if you wait until three years after you’re eligible to enroll, you’ll pay 30 percent more than the standard premium for Medicare B, for as long as you have the coverage. But this penalty does not apply if you delayed your Part B enrollment because you had employer-sponsored coverage from a current employer (or your spouse’s current employer) and used that coverage instead of Part B.
Louise Norris is an individual health insurance broker who has been writing about health insurance and health reform since 2006. She has written dozens of opinions and educational pieces about the Affordable Care Act for healthinsurance.org. Her state health exchange updates are regularly cited by media who cover health reform and by other health insurance experts.