What Is Medicare Plan B?
President Lyndon Johnson created the Medicare system in the United States in 1965. The program was designed to meet the health care needs of retired Americans. Medicare Part B is one part of this program.
Medicare A Vs. Medicare B
Medicare consists of two main parts: A and B. Part A covers hospitalization and most inpatient care needs. Part B covers doctor visits, outpatient services and services such as physical therapy deemed necessary.
To apply for Medicare Part B, you need to meet three criteria. First, you must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States. Second, you must have worked at least 10 years in a profession where you paid into the system through payroll taxes. Finally, you need to be at least 65 or be disabled or have end-stage renal failure.
Although enrollment into Part A is automatic at age 65 for most Americans, you must enroll in Part B voluntarily. The enrollment period begins three months before your 65th birthday and lasts for four more months following that date.
Cost of Premiums
While Part A does not cost anything, you will need to pay premiums for Part B. In 2010, the premiums average $96.40 per month for individuals earning less than $85,000 and a little more than $110 for people who earn higher than that.
Medicare Part B does not cover some services, including prescription drugs, eye exams and corrective eye wear, hearing aids, dental services, immunizations and podiatry.