Medicare Part B is part of Original Medicare. Medicare Part B covers outpatient medical services such as doctor visits and preventive care like flu shots and diabetes screenings. Medicare Part A covers inpatient hospitalization services.
Some medical care services are not covered by either Medicare Part B or Part A. Dentures and dental care, vision care, long-term care, hearing aids, and routine foot care are not typically covered by Original Medicare (Part A and Part B).
In 2018, the Medicare Part B premium is $134. This premium must be paid monthly. Individuals making higher incomes have to pay more for Medicare Part B. For 70% of Social Security recipients who have been paying an artificially low $109 a month, they’ll see a big jump to the $134 a month level. Also, many high earners—starting at $133,500 for a single—will face higher high-income surcharges. Part B (the base and the surcharge) covers doctors’ and outpatient services.
The average benefit for a retired worker will rise by $27 a month to $1,404 in 2018. Many recipients will find most or all of their increase eaten up by the jump in the Medicare Part B premiums deducted from their monthly Social Security checks. A “hold harmless” provision (no increase in Medicare premiums can reduce a Social Security recipient’s net monthly check) kept their premiums in check before.
|If your yearly income in 2016 (for what you pay in 2018) was||You pay each month (in 2018)|
|File individual tax return||File joint tax return||File married & separate tax return|
|$85,000 or less||$170,000 or less||$85,000 or less||$134.00|
|Above $85,000 up to $107,000||above $170,000 up to $214,000||Not applicable||$187.50|
|Above $107,000 up to $133,500||above $214,000 up to $267,000||Not applicable||$267.90|
|Above $133,500 up to $160,000||above $267,000 up to $320,000||Not applicable||$348.30|
|Above $160,000||above $320,000||above $85,000||$428.60|
The graduated high-income premium surcharges for seniors kick in for singles with a modified adjusted gross income of more than $85,000 and for couples with a MAGI of more than $170,000. An individual earning more than $85,000, but less than or equal to $107,000, will pay $187.50 in total a month in 2018, including a $53.50 surcharge, the same as in 2017.
The next bracket is compressed, so individuals making $133,500 to $160,000 will now face a $214.30 monthly surcharge, up from $133.90, bringing their total premium up from $267.90 a month to $348.30 a month. That’s a 60% hike.
The highest surcharge—which applies to individuals above $214,000 (couples above $428,000 this year) will apply to individuals with income above $160,000 (couples above $320,000) for 2018. That means Medicare Part B premium will top $10,000 a year ($10,286.40) for high income senior couples, with adjusted gross income of $320,000 or more, in 2018.
Medicare Part B has a deductible, that is to say, an amount that must first be paid by the enrollee for medical services prior to Part B contributing towards costs. In 2018, the Medicare Part B deductible is $183 a year.
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