Medicare Part B Costs in 2020
Medicare Part B costs for 2020 have increased. On this page, you will learn about Part B including what is covered, when to enroll, and how much you will have to pay in 2020. Part B is outpatient medical coverage for stays at any hospital or medical facility for less than 24 hours (even if your stay occurs overnight). This is part of Original Medicare and covers medically necessary services and supplies to treat your health condition. It includes outpatient preventive services such as your annual flu shot and annual wellness visit to prevent illness. It also covers medical screening tests such as cardiovascular disease and colorectal cancer screenings to detect your health conditions early so treatment is most effective. Furthermore, Part B covers ambulance services and durable medical equipment. Before Medicare Part B will cover your medical service or equipment, you first must pay $198 annual deductible for 2020.
Medicare Part B covers ground ambulance transportation when you need to be transported to a hospital, critical access hospital, or skilled nursing facility. However, Medicare will only cover ambulance service to the nearest appropriate medical facility that is able to provide for your medical needs. In addition, Medicare may pay emergency ambulance transportation in an airplane or helicopter to a hospital if you need rapid medical transport. This Medicare Part B ambulance service costs cost you 20% of the Medicare-approved amount and $198 annual deductible in 2020.
Diabetes Screening and Supplies
Diabetes affects 30.3 million Americans. In other words, 9.4% of the US population has diabetes. Moreover, 7.6 million seniors (1 out of 4) age 65 or older are diagnosed with diabetes. Therefore, it is important you know whether you are one of those millions of people who have diabetes. You may be high-risk for diabetes if you have any of the following:
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- History of abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels (dyslipidemia)
- History of high blood sugar (glucose)
Medicare Part B covers FREE diabetes screening if your doctor determines you are at risk or diagnosed with pre-diabetes. Furthermore, you may be eligible for up to two screenings per year. After you are diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes, Medicare Part B covers the following supplies:
- Glucose test strips
- Blood sugar testing monitors
- Glucose solutions
- Infusion pumps
- Lancet devices & lancets
Moreover, with Medicare national mail order program, you can have diabetic testing supplies mailed directly to your home. Most importantly, Medicare covers outpatient diabetic self-management training (DSMT) to help you learn how to better manage your diabetes. As a result, you can learn how to monitor your blood sugar, eat healthy, exercise, and manage your prescriptions. Medicare Part B costs for diabetes self-management training is 20% of the Medicare-approved amount and $198 deductible in 2020.
An estimated 8.5 million seniors use mobility devices. In particular, about 25% of Americas age 65 or older use canes, walkers and other mobility aids. My father is a baby boomer and he loves to speed around the community in his electric golf cart. We live in Florida and I often see people riding their scooters on sidewalks and crossing intersections. Mobility equipment can improve the quality of life for people with disabilities and seniors by making it easier to get around. Furthermore, by learning how to operate mobility devices such as power wheelchairs and electric scooters, you can ride indoors and outdoors with independence and ease.
When you are speeding on your scooter, you may feel young again! Having the freedom to go where you want when you want gives you mobility independence. Whatever mobility equipment you use, it helps you get out in the world so you can connect with people especially the ones you love. I want you to keep your independence and enjoy living. To qualify for Medicare to pay for mobility device, you must have a disability which prevents you from doing the following activities: bathing, toileting, personal care, feeding, and dressing.
If your doctor or healthcare professional certifies you can not perform the activities listed above, then Medicare will pay 80% for you mobility device. Therefore, with Medicare Part B the cost you pay is 20% of the Medicare-approved amount and $198 deductible for 2020.
Medicare Part B – Preventive Screening Costs
You pay nothing for these preventive screening tests if your doctor or other qualified health care provider accepts assignment. In other words, these services are free to you when your doctor or provider agrees to be paid directly by Medicare and to accept the Medicare-approved payment amount. Therefore, for free services you will not be billed any more than Medicare Part B deductible cost of $198 in 2020. The table below show you the cost of preventive screening services covered by Medicare Part B:
Counseling and Training Costs
Medicare will only cover your counseling sessions if they are provided by a doctor and take place in a primary care doctor’s office or primary care clinic. However, a registered dietitian or nutritional professional can provide medical nutrition therapy (MNT) services if you have diabetes or kidney disease. In addition, you can get MNT if you have had a kidney transplant in the last 36 months. Best of all, counseling is free with Medicare Part B.
Medicare may cover up to 10 hours of initial diabetes self-management training (DSMT). You get 1 hour of individual training and 9 hours of group training. In addition, you may qualify for up to 2 hours of follow-up training each year. To get this diabetes training you pay 20% of the Medicare-approved cost and Part B deductible of $198 in 2020.
Biopsy occurs when a screening discovers the presence of abnormal tissue and the doctor removes a sample for later examination. For example, if a colonoscopy discovers a polyp and the doctor removes it, you pay 20% of Medicare approved amount for your doctor’s service.
Hepatitis is a medical condition defined by inflammation of the liver and characterized by the presence of inflammation cells in the organ tissue. You need to know hepatitis may occur with few or no symptoms. So it is important you get screened especially if you are at high risk because hepatitis can lead to jaundice, nausea, and in rare cases death. In addition, some forms of hepatitis may cause cirrhosis and liver cancer.
The good news is hepatitis B shots are fee if you have any of the following medical conditions:
- End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD)
- Live with someone who has hepatitis B
- You are a health care worker and have frequent contact with blood or bodily fluids
Prostate Cancer Screening Costs
Medicare Part B covers digital rectal exams and prostate antigen (PSA) blood tests once every 12 months for men over the age of 50. To get a digital rectal exam, you pay 20% of the Medicar-approved costs and Part B $198 deductible in 2020. However, you pay nothing for the PSA blood test.
Telehealth allows you to communicate with medical doctor and other health care professionals using secure web video chat. This real-time audio and video technology provides you with a two-way healthcare communication system. Medicare pays for telehealth in medically underserved areas. For instance, where there is difficulty accessing medical service such as in rural areas. Medicare requires the originating site to be a healthcare facility including any of the following:
- Doctor’s Office
- Critical access hospital
- Rural health clinic
- Hospital-based dialysis facility
- Skilled nursing facility
- Community mental health center
Medicare is moving in the direction to allow telehealth communication in your home. Starting in 2020, Medicare Advantage Plans may offer more telehealth benefits than Original Medicare. These telehealth benefits may allow you to use telehealth services at your home rather than only at a healthcare facility. If your location qualifies, Medicare Part B will cover the cost of telehealth. You pay 20% coinsurance of the Medicare-approved amount and $198 deductible for 2020.
How Do I Enroll in Medicare Part B?
You will automatically be enrolled in Medicare Part B if you are already receiving Social Security income benefits. You will receive you Medicare card in your mailbox 2-3 months before you turn 65. Otherwise, you can enroll in Medicare Part A in the following three ways:
- Go online at www.ssa.gov
- Call 1-800-772-1213
- Visit your local social security office and register in person
What is Medicare Part B Late Enrollment Penalty?
It is important you enroll in Part B during your initial enrollment period unless you have creditable coverage such as employer group coverage. Otherwise, you will be subject to a penalty! This penalty is equal to 10% per year for every year (12 full months) that you wait to enroll. In addition, the penalty increases the longer you delay enrollment. This penalty is applied against the standard Part B premium of $144.60 in 2020.
However, it gets worse because you will need to wait for the Medicare General Enrollment Period to enroll in Part B. This period runs from January 1st to March 31st each year. When you enroll during this period (and its after your initial enrollment period – learn more about Medicare, your benefits will begin July 1st. This can be a double whammy because you owe a penalty and have to wait several months for your coverage to start.
The best way to avoid Medicare Part B late enrollment penalty is to enroll in Medicare during your initial Enrollment Period.
What will Medicare Part B Cost in 2020?
In 2019, Part B deductible costs $185. However, in 2020 this cost will increase and you will pay $198 for Part B deductible. After you pay the deductible, you will owe 20% coinsurance on Medicare-approved amounts. Your coinsurance costs can add up to thousands of dollars especially for outpatient surgeries or chemotherapy. Moreover, there is no limit or cap on your 20% coinsurance cost. Therefore, your costs can add up to tens of thousands of dollars or more!
You can avoid unlimited coinsurance expenses by getting a Medicare supplemental plan. Then you will have a fixed healthcare cost no matter how often you need medical services.
What is not covered by Part B?
Medicare Part B does not cover inpatient hospital services and prescription drug coverage. Learn more about Medicare Parts that cover these benefits.