Health care information is often complex and knowing what choice to make when you become eligible for Medicare can be difficult. This article will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of enrolling in Medicare Part B.
You should enroll in Medicare Parts A and B as soon as you are eligible; this will help you avoid late penalties which may apply should you later decide to enroll. If you have 40 qualified work quarters during which Medicare Health Insurance Tax (HIT) was paid, there are no premiums for Medicare Part A. You will automatically be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B when you enroll in Medicare, but you may elect to decline Part B. In making an informed choice, you should know the advantages and disadvantages of enrolling or not enrolling in Medicare Part B.
Medicare Part A covers hospital services and Part B covers outpatient and professional services such as doctor visits, X-ray and lab services, ambulance services, physical and speech therapy, durable medical equipment (i.e., oxygen, wheelchairs, and walkers) and some preventive care, which are coordinated with most of the Administered health plans.
2010 Medicare Part B Premium Structure
Effective January 1, 2007, Part B premiums are income-based, subject to your prior two years of income tax filings with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). You can choose whether or not to enroll in Part B; however, if you do enroll in Part B and in one of the Medicare plans — Anthem Blue Cross Plan III, Kaiser Senior Advantage, Secure Horizons, SCAN, or CIGNA Health Care for Seniors — your Part B premium standard rate will be reimbursed by the County (subject to annual review by the Board of Supervisors).
The following chart applies to members with Medicare Part A and Part B and enrolled in a Medicare plan:
County Reimbursement Schedule for
2010 Medicare Part B Premiums (standard rate)
2010 Medicare Part B
Premium Monthly Rates*
2010 County Medicare Part B
Premium Reimbursement Program
$0 – $85,000
$96.40 singles and
$192.80 for two parties
$85,001 – $170,000
$110.50 singles and
$221 for two parties
The maximum Part B reimbursement for 2010 is $110.50 (standard rate).