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Medicare Part B

Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) helps cover doctors' services and outpatient care. It also covers some other medical services that Part A doesn't cover, such as some of the services of physical and occupational therapists, and some home health care. Part B helps pay for these covered services and supplies when they are medically necessary.

Cost: The Medicare Part B premium each month ($99.90 per month in 2012). In some cases, this amount may be higher if the beneficiary didn't sign up for Part B when they first became eligible.

Caution: If the beneficiary didn't take Part B when they were first eligible, the cost of Part B will go up 10% for each full 12-month period that they could have had Part B but didn't sign up for it, except in special cases. They will have to pay this penalty as long as they have Part B.

They also pay a Part B deductible each year before Medicare starts to pay its share. The Part B deductible for 2012 is $140.00. The beneficiary may be able to get help from their state to pay this premium and deductible.

Medicare deductible and premium rates may change every year in January.