Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Medicare Part B

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Q. It seems to me that if I choose to take Medicare Part B with my Blue Cross/Blue Shield standard Federal Employees Health Benefits insurance, my maximum additional out of pocket would be $2,500 Medicare premium plus $5,000 expensive drugs = $7,500. If I decline Medicare Part B, my max out of pocket would be $5,000. Am I missing something?

A. Obviously. The first number you look at is always the cost of premiums for Part B, which would be in addition to your FEHB premiums. However, the arithmetic doesn’t stop there. You need to review your plan brochure to see how your plan will reimburse your medical insurance coverage services if you don’t elect Part B. Then you need to review the benefits that each plan provides to see if they either supplement each other or provide coverage where none would otherwise exist. Finally, put what you’ve learned up against what you think your current and future health needs will be. When you are done, you may conclude that you don’t need Part B, or that you do. The decision is up to you. However, do it with more thought than you have put into it so far.

Comments

  1. honu Says:
    April 7th, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    Here’s some information that may be helpful to your determination: Medicare Part B covers doctors’ bills, outpatient and emergency room services, ambulance services, diagnostic tests, laboratory tests and durable medical equipment. Durable medical equipment does not include dentures, eye glasses, and hearing aids. Also, services performed in foreign countries are not covered.

    Since Part B premiums are now tied to income, the standard 2013 premium of $104.90 per month applies only if your “modified adjusted gross income” (which is different from adjusted gross income) falls under $170,000 if filing jointly.