Saturday, April 17, 2010

Medicare Part B Excess Premium

“Medicare Part B Premium”

QUESTION:  I am new to Medicare and recently received a bill from Medicare stating I owe an additional amount for my Medicare Part B premium. I don’t understand this bill.

ANSWER:  The standard Medicare Part B monthly premium for first time enrollees in 2010 is $110.50 per month. If your yearly income is more than $85,000, ($170,000 for a couple) then you will pay an increased premium based on your income. The Internal Revenue Service supplies your tax filing status and income information to the Social Security Administration each year. I imagine, based on the information you have given me, that your income information was updated and your income exceeded the standard premium guidelines for 2010, hence your bill for additional premium. Not a good surprise to find out you owe more money. The surprise factor might have been avoided by contacting the Social Security Administration early, up to three months prior to the month you turn 65. You may also appeal this increase, if you think it is in error, by contacting the Social Security Administration ( 1-800-772-1213 ).

SOURCE: ; select (#4) 2010 Part B Premium Amounts for Persons with Higher Income Levels. Also available in the Medicare and You Handbook.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

“Welcome to Medicare” Physical Exam

QUESTION:  I turned 65 this month and am on Medicare. I called my doctor’s office about scheduling a physical exam but they told me Medicare might not pay for it. Is that right?

ANSWER:  In your case, NO, that’s not right. You are allowed a one-time preventive physical exam within the first 12 months that you have Medicare Part B. Because you just turned 65 and have Medicare, this physical will be covered. After this first time, Medicare does not generally cover preventive physical exams. Your doctor’s office is aware of this provision and may not have realized you were in your initial 12 months of having Medicare Part B.

You may have received a letter from Medicare advising you of this benefit. It might be a good idea to take that letter or print out the information about this physical exam from the website and take it with you to your doctor appointment.

I’ll be happy to send you a copy of the information. Just click “ask a question” and request Welcome to Medicare Physical info.

SOURCE:; search for One-time “Welcome to Medicare” Physical Exam.