Part B (medical insurance)
Medicare Part B helps cover doctor's services, outpatient care, and some other services not covered by Part A. Part B is optional and has a monthly premium. This premium is deducted from your monthly Social Security check or billed quarterly if you're not yet receiving Social Security.
When to enroll
- When you first become eligible, by age, disability, or other criteria. This Initial Coverage Election Period (ICEP) lasts 7 months.
- During the annual General Enrollment Period for Medicare Parts A and B: January 1 through March 31 each year. Coverage starts July 1.
If you don't enroll in Part B when you're first eligible for Medicare, and you decide to enroll later, your monthly Part B premium could go up 10 percent for each year that you could have had Part B but didn't enroll.
If you have other coverage, such as employer-sponsored coverage, when you first become eligible for Medicare, you can defer your Medicare Part B enrollment to a later time without penalty — up to 8 months after your other coverage ends. Contact Social Security to find out more about deferring your Part B enrollment.
Some services not covered by Part B
- Routine vision, alternative health care, routine hearing screening exams, routine chiropractic care, prescription drugs, first 3 pints of blood
- Chiropractic services (except to correct a subluxation using manipulation of the spine)
- Cosmetic surgery
- Custodial care
- Dental care (routine) and dentures
- Eye care (routine exam), eye refractions, and most eyeglasses
- Routine foot care (with a few exceptions)
- Health care while traveling outside the United States, except in limited cases
- Hearing aids and exams for the purpose of fitting a hearing aid
- Hearing tests that haven't been ordered by a doctor
- Long-term care
- Orthopedic shoes (with a few exceptions)
- Prescription drugs (most outpatient drugs aren't covered)
- Syringes or insulin, unless the insulin is used with an insulin pump
Learn about Medicare health plans for group, state, and federal employees
If you are becoming eligible for Medicare and your employer offers a group retiree Medicare Advantage health plan through Kaiser Permanente Washington, call us at 1-800-581-8252 or TTY WA Relay 711 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
PEBB and FEHB members can also find information online:
- PEBB (Public Employees Benefits Board) Program health plans
- FEHB (Federal Employees Health Benefits) Program health plans
Key Medicare enrollment dates
Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP)
October 15 through December 7
Medicare Initial Coverage Election Period (ICEP)
65th birthday month + 3 months before and after
Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (OEP)
January 1 through March 31
Medicare Star Quality Ratings
Our Medicare Advantage health plan in Washington was rated 4.5 out of 5 Stars for 2019. Our 4.5 out of 5 Star rating is based on quality, service, and member satisfaction, so you get the peace of mind that comes with knowing you're getting high-quality care. 1