Medicare Supplement Plan B
Medicare Supplement Plan B is a basic Medigap policy that helps with the out-of-pocket expenses that Original Medicare does not cover. Medicare Supplement Plan B covers everything Medicare Supplement Plan A covers as well as your Medicare Part A hospital insurance deductible.
- Written by Terry Turner
Senior Financial Writer and Financial Wellness Facilitator
Terry Turner has more than 35 years of journalism experience, including covering benefits, spending and congressional action on federal programs such as Social Security and Medicare. He is a Certified Financial Wellness Facilitator through the National Wellness Institute and the Foundation for Financial Wellness and a member of the Association for Financial Counseling & Planning Education (AFCPE®).Read More
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Brian Hickey, CLU®, CLTC®, FLMI
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Brian Hickey is vice president of Insuractive, an Omaha-based company providing direct-to-consumer Medicare plans, life insurance and wealth protection to individuals. With 24 years’ experiencein Medicare, long-term care, life insurance and wealth protection, Brian leads and develops Insuractive’s strategic initiatives with a focus on direct-to-consumeroptions for insurance information and solutions.Read More
- Published: June 16, 2021
- Updated: May 23, 2023
- 4 min read time
- This page features 6 Cited Research Articles
- Edited By
What Is Medicare Supplement Plan B?
Medicare Supplement Plan B — also known as Medigap Plan B — is one of the eight Medigap plans available in most states. Medigap policies are sold by private insurers to supplement Original Medicare coverage. Original Medicare includes Medicare Part A and Part B.
You shouldn’t confuse Medicare Supplement Plan B with Medicare Part B medical insurance. These are very different things that are designed to work together. Medigap Plan B can help people pay the out-of-pocket costs that Original Medicare does not cover.
- Medicare Part B
- Medicare Part B medical insurance is a federal health insurance plan that covers doctor visits and other medical services, items and tests. You must sign up for it and pay a separate, monthly premium. You are also typically responsible for a coinsurance payment of 20 percent of the Medicare-approved cost for medical services and items Medicare Part B covers. You may also have to pay a copayment for certain services.
- Medigap (Medicare Supplement) Plan B
- Medigap Plan B policies are sold by private insurers. You purchase a Plan B policy to help cover out-of-pocket costs from Original Medicare, such as coinsurance and copayments. Medigap Plan B covers some of these costs along with your Medicare Part A hospital insurance deductible — $1,600 per benefit period in 2023.
None of the eight Medigap policies currently available to new Medicare enrollees cover the Medicare Part B deductible, which in 2023 is $226.
What Types of Services Are Covered by Medigap Plan B?
Medicare Supplement Plan B offers basic coverage for out-of-pocket costs that Original Medicare does not cover.
- Medicare Part A coinsurance and costs for 365 days after your Medicare benefits are exhausted
- Medicare Part A deductible
- Medicare Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayment
- Medicare Part B coinsurance (typically 20 percent of Medicare approved cost of services, items or tests)
- Medicare Part B copayment (a fixed dollar amount usually set by a health care provider)
- The first three pints of blood necessary for a medical procedure each calendar year
Medigap Plan B covers coinsurance only after you’ve paid your Medicare Part B deductible. Because Medigap Plan B policies cover the Part A deductible, your coinsurance for Part A services will also be covered.
There are other out-of-pocket costs that Medigap Plan B will not cover.
- Skilled nursing facility care coinsurance
- Medicare Part B medical insurance deductible
- Medicare Part B excess charge — the amount a doctor or other health care provider can legally charge you above the Medicare-approved cost
- Foreign travel emergency (up to your Plan B policy’s limits) — medical expenses while traveling outside the United States
Other Medigap plans cover out-of-pocket costs that Plan B does not. It is important to compare Medigap plans to find the one that best fits your health care needs and financial priorities.
There are some health care items that neither Original Medicare nor Medigap covers. These include hearing, vision and dental services and can be purchased separately.
If these are services for which you may need coverage, you may want to consider a Medicare Advantage plan. These are private policies that replace Original Medicare and provide benefits including and beyond those offered under Medicare Part A and Part B.
Medigap policies will not cover most prescription drug costs. But you can purchase a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan to help with your medication costs.
How Much Does Medigap Plan B Cost?
The cost of a Medicare Supplement Plan B policy varies depending on the company you buy it from and your location, age, sex and sometimes tobacco usage.
Policies may be more expensive in some states than in others. Even within a state, the cost can vary depending on the part of the state where you live.
Your age, sex and health status can affect the cost of your Medigap Plan B policy. But if you enroll during the Medigap Open Enrollment Period — the first six months when you turn 65 — and live in the plan’s service area, an insurer cannot reject you for pre-existing health conditions or disabilities.
Insurers that sell Medigap Plan B policies may offer discounts for non-smokers, women or married couples. You may also be able to save on premium costs if you agree to a yearly payment, have multiple policies in your household or use electronic money transfers to pay your premiums.
6 Cited Research Articles
- U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (2022, September 27). 2023 Medicare Parts A and B Premiums and Deductibles 2023 Medicare Part D Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amounts. Retrieved from https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/fact-sheets/2023-medicare-parts-b-premiums-and-deductibles-2023-medicare-part-d-income-related-monthly
- U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services. (2022, September). Medicare & You 2023. Download. Retrieved from https://www.medicare.gov/media/12116-Welcome-to-Medicare.pdf
- Bunis, D. (2022, May 11). Medigap Plans Help Bridge Gap of Original Medicare Costs. Retrieved from https://www.aarp.org/health/medicare-insurance/info-2017/choosing-right-medigap-plan.html
- U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services. (2022, March). Choosing a Medigap Policy: A Guide to Health Insurance for People With Medicare. Retrieved from https://web.archive.org/web/20230314223405/https://www.medicare.gov/sites/default/files/2022-03/02110-medigap-guide-health-insurance.pdf
- U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services. (n.d.). How to Compare Medigap Policies. Retrieved from https://www.medicare.gov/supplements-other-insurance/how-to-compare-medigap-policies
- U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services. (n.d.). What’s Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap)? Retrieved from https://www.medicare.gov/supplements-other-insurance/whats-medicare-supplement-insurance-medigap
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