Medicare Part B – Medical Insurance

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Medicare Part B covers a portion of:

  • Doctors' services
  • Outpatient hospital care
  • Laboratory tests
  • Outpatient physical therapy
  • Outpatient speech therapy
  • Certain home health care
  • Certain ambulance services
  • Certain medical equipment and supplies

Part B coverage is optional. If you or your spouse is still working and covered by your employer group health plan, you may not need this part of Medicare until you or your spouse retires. Learn more.

The standard Medicare Part B premium for 2016 is $121.80. Yet, most people (70% of Medicare beneficiaries) will continue paying $104.90 (the standard premium for 2015), and have it automatically deducted from their Social Security check every month. The remaining 30% of beneficiaries will pay the higher premium. These people include:

  • People newly eligible for Medicare (whose Medicare becomes effective January 1, 2016 or later)
  • Beneficiaries with higher income (see below)
  • Beneficiaries who do not have their Part B premium deducted from their Social Security check, and
  • Beneficiaries who also qualify for full Medi-Cal benefits or a Medicare Savings Program (because Medi-Cal pays the Part B premium).

NOTE: If you don’t receive Social Security benefits, you will be billed for Part B. Also, people with higher incomes (individuals with annual incomes over $85,000 and couples with incomes over $170,000) will pay a higher Part B premium than the standard $121.80 amount. See table below.

2016 Part B Premiums & Deductibles

The chart below lists the Part B premiums and deductibles. For a comprehensive list of both Part A and Part B costs, see our summary chart, Medicare Benefits & Cost-Sharing for 2016.

Part B – Medical Insurance Premiums & Deductibles
For 2016 For 2015
Annual Deductible $166 $147
Your Annual Income Your Monthly Premium* Your Monthly Premium*
  • Single: up to $85,000
  • Couple: up to $170,000
$121.80 $104.90
  • Single: $85,001 to $107,000
  • Couple: $170,001 to $214,000
$170.50 $146.90
  • Single: $107,001 to $160,000
  • Couple: $214,001 to $320,000
$243.60 $209.80
  • Single: $160,001 to $213,000
  • Couple: $320,001 to $426,000
$316.70 $272.70
  • Single: $213,001 and over
  • Couple: $426,001 and over
$389.80 $335.70

* Premium is per person
** Approximately 70% of Medicare beneficiaries are “held harmless” and continue to pay the same premium amount they paid in 2015 which is $104.90. The other 30% pay the 2016 standard premium amount of $121.80 (or higher depending on their income). These beneficiaries include those who are new to Medicare in 2016, those with higher incomes, and those who do not have the Part B premium deducted from their Social Security check, which includes beneficiaries who also qualify for Medi-Cal or a Medicare Savings Program. Medi-Cal pays the Part B premium for this last group.

Note: Income categories for the Part B premiums will be frozen through 2019 and will not be adjusted annually for inflation. This means that more people will reach the threshold and pay a higher amount for their Part B premium.

See also:

back to Medicare: An Overview

Updated Dec 10, 2015

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