Why Do I Need Medicare Part B?

by Trisha Bartle ; Updated July 27, 2017
Medicare Part B covers doctor visits.

Medicare is a federally-funded health insurance plan that covers seniors 65 years of age and older or those with disabilities. Since most people are automatically signed up for Medicare Part B when they sign up for Part A, they may feel that they are required to have this insurance. While enrollment in Part B is not mandatory, this plan covers medical services over and above hospital services covered through Part A.

Automatic Part B

According to Social Security Online, if you have signed up for Social Security benefits and have Medicare Part A, you should already be enrolled in Part B. Residents of foreign countries and Puerto Rico are the only ones that do not typically get Medicare Part B automatically. If you do not want Part B coverage, whether due to lack of funds or you already have another source of medical insurance, you can ask to have it removed. If you do not have it automatically and want the benefits of Medicare Part B, then you need to sign up.

What it Covers

Medicare Part B covers outpatient medical services not covered in Part A. These are medical services typically covered by standard health insurance, such as doctor's visits. Some preventative and alternative medical services are also covered, including physical therapy and gynecological exams. For instance, if you are feeling ill and need to visit a doctor for a diagnosis, this is covered under Medicare Part B.

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Cost of Medicare Part B

According to Social Security Online, the federal government covers about 75 percent of most medical services under Medicare Part B. This means that the patient pays the remaining 25 percent of the medical bill. There are some exceptions to this rule as those with higher income may need to pay a greater percentage while those with a very low income will pay less. The Social Security Administration will send you a letter once you have applied for Medicare Part B to tell you what percentage you have to pay as well as the monthly premium.

How to Get Part B

If you do not already have Medicare Part B, contact the Social Security Administration to sign up. Call 800-772-1213 to speak with a representative about your Medicare and Social Security status. If you are hard of hearing, call the TTY number at 800-325-0778.

About the Author

Trisha Bartle began her writing career in 2007, with work appearing in publications such as "Adventures for the Average Woman" and DexKnows Weddings. She has also been a professional wedding photographer since 2001. Bartle holds an Associate of Applied Science in programming and game development.

Photo Credits

  • doctor's treatment image by TEMISTOCLE LUCARELLI from Fotolia.com
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