Medicare Part B

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

NEXT: Medicare Part C
PREVIOUS: Medicare Part A

Learn about Medicare plans for group, state, and federal employees

If you are becoming eligible for Medicare and your employer offers a group retiree Medicare Advantage 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:

Enroll in a Kaiser Permanente Medicare Health Plan Now

Call Member Services

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

Other resources


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

NCQA Quality Rating

Kaiser Permanente Washington Medicare Advantage (HMO) plan was rated 5 out of 5 in the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) Medicare Health Insurance Plan Ratings 2017-2018.2