Do I Still Pay for Part B with Medicare Advantage?
One of the attractive features of a Medicare Advantage Plan is the lower price point. In 2016, The Commonwealth Fund reported that in the 25 U.S. counties where the cost gap between Medicare Advantage and Original Medicare is largest, Medicare Advantage Plans spent a total of $5.2 billion less than Original Medicare would have spent on the same beneficiaries 1. These savings are ostensibly passed along to the beneficiaries in the form of low premiums – with some starting at $0 a month.
Even with $0 monthly premiums, Medicare Advantage Plans aren’t really free. One of the costs you must keep in mind is the Part B premium. This begs the question: do you pay the Part B premium with a Medicare Advantage Plan? In a word: usually. Let’s investigate the whys and wherefores.
In this article:
|What is the Part B Premium?||Jump to|
|When Do You Pay the Part B Premium?||Jump to|
|When Do You Not Have to Pay the Part B Premium?||Jump to|
What is the Part B Premium?
While most Medicare beneficiaries qualify for a premium-free Part A, they still find themselves paying for Part B premiums which in 2022 is $170.10 a month 2. If your income is over a certain amount, you may pay more.
If your plan does mandate you to pay Part B, this will be billed directly through Medicare. If you get Social Security, Office of Personnel Management, or Railroad Retirement Board benefits, your Part B premiums will be automatically deducted from your benefits check.
However, if you don’t get these benefits, you will receive a Notice of Medicare Premium Payment Due. Payment options are signing up for bill pay, using online banking, or mailing a check.
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When Must You Pay the Part B Premium with Medicare Advantage?
While Medicare Advantage replaces Original Medicare, most plans require you to pay Part B premiums. With these plans, you will continue to pay Part B premiums the same way as with Original Medicare.
The good news is most Medicare Advantage Plans have very low, sometimes even $0, monthly premiums. Plan availability will depend on your area, but an estimated two-thirds of Medicare Advantage beneficiaries paid no supplemental premium other than Part B in 2021. 3
When Do You Not Have to Pay the Part B Premium with Medicare Advantage?
There are ways to save on your Part B premium. Some of these programs may pay a portion or all the cost.
One potentially significant source of savings is the Medicare Part B Give Back Benefit which allows you to save up to the full amount of the Part B premium (or $170 per month).
Also known as Part B premium reduction, the Part B giveback is only available through Medicare Advantage Plans. Some (though not all) carriers offer the giveback to help those on Medicare reduce their out-of-pocket spending.
You are eligible for the Part B giveback if you:
- Are enrolled in Original Medicare (Parts A and B)
- Pay your own Part B premium
- Live in the service area of a Medicare Advantage Plan with this feature
You are ineligible if you receive help paying for your Part B premium from Medicaid or any other federal program.
If you have Medicaid, you may qualify for other programs that will help you save money on your premiums. Learn more here.
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1 The Commonwealth Fund, “Does Medicare Advantage Cost Less than Traditional Medicare?” Accessed May 11, 2022.
2 Medicare.gov. “Part B Costs.” Accessed May 11, 2022.
3 KFF.org. “Medicare Advantage in 2021.” Accessed May 11, 2022.
Denise Austin, 65, Ensurem Ambassador
Best-Selling Author, Creator of Fit Over 50 Magazine
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