When you approach your Medicare years, you hear commercials and advertisements constantly to entice Medicare beneficiaries to different Medicare Advantage plans. One of the most exciting and misrepresented benefits you hear about is the Medicare Part B give-back program.
And it’s no surprise why. Who wouldn’t want to lower their monthly premiums as everything rises?
Understanding the Medicare give-back benefit
Medicare Advantage plans offer a variety of benefits in addition to the coverage provided by Original Medicare. Among those benefits that are overmarketed is Part B gives back. It’s important to know it’s not a Medicare benefit but one offered through some Medicare Advantage plans.
Since this is a benefit offered through private insurance companies and the Medicare Advantage Program, the benefit amount can range widely.
What exactly is a Medicare Part B give back?
Earlier, we mentioned that this benefit is among the most misrepresented of all plan extras available in the Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan. That’s because, in reality, the beneficiary doesn’t receive anything back.
This benefit serves as a Part B premium reduction. So they aren’t getting anything back but instead lowering the amount deducted from their monthly social security check.
Eligibility for a Medicare Advantage plan with a Part B give-back
Eligibility to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan is simply living in the service area of the program and being eligible for Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B. It’s important to understand that to receive the Part B give-back benefit. You must pay your Medicare Part B premium.
Suppose you’re enrolled in a program from the state that pays your Medicare Part B premium. In that case, you won’t have a monthly premium reduction because you don’t pay one.
How does the Medicare Part B give-back benefit work?
Once you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan that provides the Part B give-back benefit, the program you’re enrolled with will coordinate with Social Security. They will automatically apply the reduction of the premium.
If your Medicare premiums are deducted automatically, you’ll notice the deduction is lower. If you send a check to pay for your Part B premium, your bill will reflect a reduced amount. You can use Medicare Easy Pay to pay any balance.
Does the Part B giveback start instantly?
The Part B give-back benefit will apply the same month your Medicare Advantage plan starts. However, it could take up to three months before you see the change in the amount you’re paying in the premium. You will receive full credit for your overpayments if they don’t begin immediately.
How much is the Part B giveback?
Since this is not a benefit from the Federal Medicare Program but instead of a Medicare Advantage health insurance plan, the amounts can vary. Some plans offer a small amount, sometimes $10 per month or less, and others give back all or most of your Medicare Part B premium.
The amount you receive as a Part B give-back benefit is determined by where you live, what’s offered, and which plan you choose.
Can I qualify for a Part B reduction with a Medicare Supplement plan?
Medicare Supplement Plans work as secondary coverage to Original Medicare. By definition, they only pay the out-of-pocket costs of items and services covered by Medicare coverage.
These expenses covered by Medigap health plans include deductibles, coinsurance, copays, and excess charges related to Medicare Parts A and B.
Since the Part B give-back benefit is not covered under Original Medicare, Medicare Supplement insurance can’t provide this additional benefit. Likewise, these plans don’t cover your costs for prescriptions. You should consider enrolling in a Part D prescription drug plan to add medication coverage.
What Medicare Advantage companies offer Part B give-back benefits?
Most top Medicare Advantage companies will offer this benefit in some areas of the US. The most common carriers that would likely provide this benefit in more places would be AARP Unitedhealthcare, Humana, Aetna, Wellcare, or Cigna. Remember, plans that offer this benefit are not available in all areas.
What’s the difference between a Part B give-back and a zero-premium Medicare plan?
Both of these benefits refer to Medicare Advantage plans. When you enroll in Medicare Part C, you must pay your monthly Part B premium. When you hear zero premium, the Medicare plan doesn’t have an additional monthly cost.
Medicare Advantage plans that provide the benefit generally have a zero-premium. The difference is that your monthly Part B premiums would be reduced by the give-back amount provided by your plan.
How do I decide if a Medicare Advantage plan with a Part B giveback is right for me?
It’s wise to remain levelheaded when choosing your Medicare health plan. While having a bit of a reprieve on your monthly Part B premium sounds good, several factors should be considered. Let’s discuss a few items that have more impact.
Prescription drug coverage
When you choose a Medicare Advantage plan, one of the most important things to check is how well the plan covers your medications. Every program has a different formulary, meaning that all plans have different prescription costs. It wouldn’t do much good to enroll in a plan that offers a giveback of $144 if your drug costs are considerably more.
For example, if you have insulin-dependent diabetes, a giveback plan may not participate with the senior savings model. In this case, you could pay more drug costs than your monthly savings on Part B reduction.
Healthcare provider copays
If you have providers you want to keep, they may not be covered on the give-back plan. You should review with a licensed agent to ensure your doctors take the plan. In addition, your copay for the doctor’s office visits may be more on this plan vs. other options. You must weigh the part B reduction savings against the higher copays.
These plans work to ration costs based on how much is allocated for healthcare. You’ll notice there is a lot of giving and taking. Plans with tighter networks generally have lower costs and richer benefits than plans with more freedom. You’ll see that most PPO plans have a significantly higher maximum out-of-pocket cost than HMO plans. The same occurs with these plans.
When a plan has a giveback, you can rest assured the costs when using the plan are more significant than other comparable plans without the benefit. Of course, there will be exceptions in some areas, but it’s wise to review all the benefits and not get caught up in the allure of the give-back benefit.
Other programs that assist with Medicare Part B premiums
Of course, the Part B give-back plans aren’t the only way Medicare beneficiaries can get help with their Medicare Part B premium. There are also state-assisted options like the Medicare Savings Program that assist low-income Medicare beneficiaries with their Part B premium. You can apply at your local Social Security office at several levels.
You can also apply online at the same time that you apply for federal Medicare’s Extra Help program. While completing the Extra Help application, the information will also be sent to the state to review unless you check the box that tells the SSA not to send it to the state.
How do I qualify for Medicare $144 back?
The benefit isn’t a benefit provided by the federal government. This benefit can only be obtained by enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan that provides this additional benefit. The benefit amount will vary depending on where you live and your chosen plan.
To receive $144 back, a Medicare Part C plan in your area must offer that amount as part of their benefit. These plans are not available in all areas.
What is the give-back benefit of Medicare plans?
A Medicare Part B giveback is offered as an additional benefit in some Medicare Advantage plans. Essentially it’s a reduction of your Medicare Part B monthly premium. The amount will vary depending on the availability in your area. You can find information on your plan’s benefits by reviewing the summary of benefits and evidence of coverage.
What are give-back plans?
These plans refer to Medicare Advantage plans that provide these benefits. These plans can be either an HMO or PPO.
In addition to the additional benefits provided, Medicare Part C plans typically include prescription drug coverage.
What Medicare plans have the give-back benefit?
The only plans with a give-back benefit are Medicare Advantage plans in specific areas.
What percentage of premiums is the give-back benefit?
There is no percentage involved. The plans that offer the benefit will give you a fixed dollar amount you could receive towards reducing your Medicare Part B premium.
What are the benefits of the give-back plan?
Since these plans are Medicare Advantage plans, you can expect that all benefits provided by Original Medicare will be included. In addition, it’s possible to find a plan that includes prescription drug coverage.
What is a Medicare give-back plan?
A Medicare give-back plan is a Medicare Advantage plan that provides a Part B give-back benefit. This benefit is not available in all Medicare Part C plans or areas.
Finding a Medicare Advantage plan in your area with the Part B give-back benefit
The Part B give-back benefits are only available through Medicare Advantage plans. These plans can vary depending on location and which plan you choose. To find Medicare Advantage plans in your area, go to Medicare’s online Medicare Advantage comparison tool.