Medicare: Part B – 2017

Medicare Part B 2017

There are four parts to Medicare: Part A, B, C, and D.

Each provides a different type of service.

What Does Part B Cover?

Part B covers most doctor visits, lab tests, X-rays, outpatient procedures, and emergency room visits. It may cover medically necessary equipment and supplies such as canes, walkers, oxygen, and scooters. Medicare does not cover dental, vision, or hearing aid services.

Medicare does not cover dental, vision, or hearing aid services.

Part B is optional and you can reject it. If you do not accept Part B at the initial enrollment period, and sign up later, you will incur a permanent penalty.

The premiums for Part B will be deducted from your monthly Social Security payment if you receive one.

The standard Part B premium will be $134 in 2017, or higher depending on your past income.

The deductible is increasing from $166 per year in 2016 to $183 in 2017.

The Social Security COLA affects your Part B premium.

The premium amounts will vary depending on your circumstances.

The Hold Harmless Provision says that your Medicare Part B premium cannot be raised more than the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA), which increases Social Security payments. In 2017, the COLA will raise Social Security payments between $4 and $5. Those whose payments for Part B coverage were deducted from their Social Security payment starting in 2015 or prior will pay $109 this year. Those who began having their Part B payments deducted in 2016 will pay $125. Others who earn less than $85,000 per year, will pay $134.

2017 Monthly Premium Amounts for Part B

  • $109 ­– If you had your Medicare premium deducted from your Social Security payment starting in 2015 or prior.
  • $125 – If you began having your Medicare premium deducted from your Social Security payment in 2016.
  • $134 ­– All those who do not have a Medicare premium deducted from their Social Security payment now and earn less than $85,000 per year.

Who Pays More?

If your modified adjusted gross income reported to the IRS over the last two years was $85,000 or more, your monthly premium will be higher.

For individuals:

  • $85,000 to $107,000             Pays $187.50
  • $107,000 to $160,000           Pays $267.90
  • $160,000 to $214,000           Pays $348.30
  • Above $214,000                      Pays $428.60

For couples, each individual pays:

  • $170,000 or less                    Pays $134
  • $170,000 to $214,000         Pays $187.50
  • $214,000 to $320,000        Pays $267.90
  • $320,000 to $428,000       Pays $348.30
  • Above $428,000                   Pays $428.60


Part B services are generally covered at 80% with the patient being responsible for the remaining 20%. This applies to services provided by doctors who participate in Medicare. For services with non-participating physicians, you may have to pay more. Find out if your doctor participates before receiving services so that you know what your responsibility will be.

Part B covers certain preventative procedures such as but not limited to colorectal screening, bone density testing, cancer screening, diabetes screening, glaucoma tests, HIV tests, flu shots, and a yearly wellness visit.

Unlike private insurance companies, which have a limit to how much you personally pay, there is no such limit with Medicare. There is no out-of-pocket maximum. Frequent doctor visits and laboratory testing can result in high costs to the patient.

Medicare Part B is the backbone of medical services for retirees in the U.S. It’s a great asset that affords millions health care at a reasonable cost.

Are you covered by Part B? Has the 2017 price increase affected you? Leave a comment below.

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