Medicare Part B - Coverage, Costs in 2017

Medicare Part B

What does Medicare Part B Cover?

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).

How much does Medicare Part B Cost in 2019?

In 2019, the Medicare Part B premium is $135.50. This premium must be paid monthly. Individuals making higher incomes have to pay more for Medicare Part B. That means that the wealthiest senior couples will be paying over $11,000 a year in Medicare Part B premiums. Part B (the base and the surcharge) covers doctors’ and outpatient services.

The average Social Security benefit for a retired worker will rise by $39 a month to $1,461 in 2019. The small increase in Part B premiums mean most retirees will get the benefit of the Social Security COLA (Part B premiums are deducted from monthly Social Security checks).

If your yearly income in 2017 (for what you pay in 2019) wasYou pay each month (in 2019)
File individual tax returnFile joint tax returnFile married & separate tax return
$85,000 or less $170,000 or less $85,000 or less $135.50
Above $85,000 up to $107,000above $170,000 up to $214,000Not applicable$189.60
Above $107,000 up to $133,500above $214,000 up to $267,000Not applicable$270.90
Above $133,500 up to $160,000above $267,000 up to $320,000Not applicable$352.20
Above $160,000 and less than $500,000above $320,000 and less than $750,000above $85,000 and less than $415,000$433.40
$500,000 or above$750,000 and above$415,000 and above$460.50

While most Medicare recipients will pay the new $135.50 standard monthly premium, an estimated 2 million (3.5%) will pay less because of a "hold harmless" provision that limits certain beneficiaries' increase in their Part B premium to be no greater than the increase in their Social Security benefits.

Then there's the 5% of Medicare recipients who have to pay income-related surcharges. The graduated surcharges for high-income seniors kick in for singles with 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 $189.60 in total a month for Part B premiums in 2019, including a $54.10 surcharge. That’s barely up from 2018: $187.50 total in a month, including a $53.50 surcharge.

By comparison, the wealthiest retirees – singles with $500,000 of income and couples with $750,000 of income -- will see a 10.3% increase in their income-related surcharge from $294.60 in 2018 (when they were part of the greater-than-$160,000/$320,000 group) to $325 in 2019. Total premiums for this group will be $460.50 a month in 2019 ($11,052 a year).1

What is the Medicare Part B Deductible for 2019?

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 2019, the Medicare Part B deductible is $185 a year.



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