Enrollment Period for Medicare Part B

January 17, 2024 at 11:09 a.m.

If you did not apply for Medicare Part B (medical insurance) within three months before or after turning age 65, you have another chance each year during the General Enrollment Period. The period runs from January 1 to March 31 every year.

If you don’t enroll in Part B when you’re first eligible for it, you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty for as long as you have Part B coverage. Your monthly premium will increase 10% for each 12-month period that you were eligible for Part B but did not sign up for it. Your coverage starts the first day of the month after you sign up.

Part B (medical insurance) helps cover:
- Services from doctors and other health care providers
- Outpatient care
- Home health care
- Durable medical equipment
- Some preventive services

Most people pay a monthly premium for Part B. The exact premium depends on your income level.


A note about costs: 
- Those with limited income and resources may receive help from your state to pay your premiums and other costs.
- Additional programs like Medicare Advantage and Medigap plans help pay for your portion of the costs.
- Click on links at the end of the article for additional information about Part B, help with costs and other programs and plans that help pay for a portion of your costs. 

Premium: $174.70 each month (or higher depending on your income). The amount can change each year. You'll pay the premium each month, even if you don't get any Part B-covered services.

Deductible: $240 before Original Medicare starts to pay. You pay this deductible once each year.

General costs for services (copay): Usually 20% of the cost for each Medicare-covered service or item after you've paid your deductible (as long as your doctor or health care provider accepts the Medicare-approved amount as full payment.

Clinical laboratory services: $0 for covered clinical laboratory services.

Home health care: $0 for covered home health care services. 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for durable medical equipment (like wheelchairs, walkers, hospital beds, and other equipment).

Outpatient hospital care: Usually 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for doctor and other health care providers' services. You will also pay a copayment to the hospital for each service you get in a hospital outpatient setting (except for certain preventative services). In most cases, your copayment won't be more than the Part A hospital stay deductible amount.

NOTE: This additional hospital copayment means you may pay more for an outpatient service you get in a hospital than you'd pay if you got the same service in a doctor's office.

Inpatient hospital care: 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for most doctor services while you're a hospital inpatient.

Outpatient mental health care: $0 for your yearly depression screening. 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for visits to your doctor or other health care provider to diagnose or treat your condition. If you get your services in a hospital outpatient clinic or hospital outpatient department, you may have to pay an additional amount to the hospital.

Partial hospitalization mental health care: After you meet the Part B deductible: 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for each service you get from a doctor or certain other qualified mental health professional. Coinsurance for each day of partial hospitaliztion services you get in a hospital outpatient setting or community mental health center.

To learn more about Medicare plans, costs and other information, please visit the Social Security Administration's Medicare Benefits page at 
www.ssa.gov/benefits/medicare. You may also read the Social Security Administration publication at www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10043.pdf.

Share this story!