Medicare is a whole new world of information, and if you are turning 65, it can be a little overwhelming. Medicare Part B is a more comprehensive health scheme compared to Medicare Part A. But what’s the catch in it and is Medicare Part B mandatory at age 65? When enrolling for Medicare, you have the power to decide which parts of the scheme you want to sign up to. Medicare Part A is mandatory for all American citizens who turn 65. Medicare Part B is not mandatory. At Vertex Insurance, they seek to make information about Medicare as easy to understand as possible because it can get overwhelming sometimes. This article will also be of aid when you’re finding yourself to be overwhelmed with information.
Is It Mandatory at Age 65?
First off, let’s bring to light everything that is covered under Medicare Part B. There are two main categories of treatments and services under this category, namely medically necessary and preventive services.
Medically Necessary Services
These are medical treatments for known medical conditions and illnesses. The services and items include doctor consultations, lab tests, surgeries, lab equipment and supplies such as wheelchairs.
Beneficiaries of Medicare Part B can also access preventive medical services such as annual screenings for cancers and influenza virus. Under this coverage, there are also preventative treatments, outpatient prescription drugs, ambulance services, clinical research, and counseling services.
Outside the Scope of Medicare
For the year 2019, you will be able to get coverage for other services such as speech therapy, and occupational therapy. However, for services such as acupuncture, cosmetic surgeries, hearing aids, dental surgeries and old-age care, you might need to get extra coverage from a private provider.
Eligibility Criteria for Medicare Part B
Eligibility criteria are the same for both Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B. If you are a US citizen and you paid medicare taxes in your employment or business, you are automatically enrolled into Medicare.
Other qualifications for the health scheme include:
- You have a disability and are younger than 65 years
- You receive social security retirement benefits
- You have ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis)
- You are a Puerto Rican who receives social security benefits
Medicare Part A is free of premiums if you are on social security benefits. Medicare Part B entails monthly premiums. The premium rates for Medicare Part B in 2019 will be $135.50 every month. If you are automatically enrolled to Medicare and don’t want Part B of the coverage, you will have to opt out immediately before the premiums kick in.
Late Enrollment Attracts Penalties
In many ways, Medicare Part B is treated as a mandatory scheme, for which delayed enrollment attracts penalties. You can skip Medicare Part B if you are still working by the time you turn 65. However, if you sign up past the age of 65, you will incur penalty charges.
In essence, you are required to enroll in the program three months before your 65th birthday. If you delay enrolling, then you will have to wait for the next year’s enrollment period from January to March. You’ll be required to pay a 10 percent penalty above the standard premium for every 12 months that you miss coverage when you are over 65. The more you wait, the higher the penalty percentage.
So, is Medicare Part B mandatory at age 65? To simply answer this question, no. Medicare Part A is not optional; however, you can opt out of Medicare Part B if you have other insurance options from a private carrier. Before choosing if whether you’ll be opting in or out of Medicare Part B, you should consider the pros and cons of all types of coverage while keeping in mind how there are potential penalties for registering too late. You can consult experts at Vertex Insurance to learn more about when to enroll, how to enroll, and how to opt out of Medicare Part B.