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What Is Medicare Supplement Plan B?

Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans can prevent you from facing substantial out-of-pocket costs when you’re on Medicare. Medigap Plan B offers the second-most limited benefits of all the plans, after Plan A. Because of its limited coverage, you should consider your options before you make a decision. For most people, it’s not a cost-effective option, and it’s offered by very few carriers.

What Does Medicare Supplement Plan B Cover?

Medicare Supplement Plan B offers limited coverage, but it does protect you from the higher costs that you’d be responsible for with just Original Medicare alone.  

Medicare Supplement Plan B covers the following costs:

  • Medicare Part A coinsurance and hospital costs
  • Medicare Part B coinsurance or copayment
  • Blood (first 3 pints, after which Medicare pays)
  • Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayment
  • Medicare Part A deductible, $1,408/ benefit period

In addition to the benefits that Medigap Plan A offers, Medigap Plan B also covers the Medicare Part A deductible. Medicare Part A represents your inpatient treatment, and the amount for 2020 is $1,408 per benefit period. A benefit period starts once you haven’t been treated as an inpatient for 60 days in a row. So, if you had no other coverage, you could be responsible for paying for the deductible more than once each year.

What Doesn’t Medicare Supplement Plan B Cover?

Before you choose Medigap Plan B, you should know that it has several large gaps in its benefits. Medicare Supplement Plan B doesn’t cover:

  • Skilled Nursing Facility care coinsurance
  • Medicare Part B (outpatient services) deductible, which is $198 per year in 2020
  • Medicare Part B excess charges
  • Foreign travel emergency

If you don’t travel outside of the U.S., you may not be concerned with the lack of foreign travel coverage. However, the Skilled Nursing Facility coinsurance and excess charges could potentially result in out-of-pocket expenses to you. Medicare will cover Skilled Nursing Facilities for up to 100 days per benefit period, but after the 20th day, you’d be responsible for a coinsurance amount of $176 per day. Excess charges can also add up if you’re exposed to them. Most healthcare providers don’t charge excess charges, but if they do, you’d be responsible for up to 15% of the cost of the service.

Should I Choose Medicare Supplement Plan B?

Medigap Plan B may be a good choice for you, but you should carefully review your options for rates for other Medicare Supplement plans before you make your decision. Medigap Plan B isn’t offered by all carriers, and it doesn’t tend to be a cost-effective choice for most people.  For instance, if you’re receiving Medicare because you’re 65 or older, more comprehensive plans such as Medigap Plan G tend to have similar premiums, despite a drastic difference in coverage. If you’re on Medicare through Disability, your options for Medigap plans are typically limited, and Plan G may not be available to you. Instead, you could consider Plan C.

Ultimately, each person’s situation is unique. You should choose the plan that you’re comfortable with, and that will allow you to seek the healthcare that you need. If you don’t travel abroad, your doctors don’t charge excess charges, and don’t need Skilled Nursing Care, Medigap Plan G could be a good fit for you.

Nothing on this website should ever be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always consult with your medical provider regarding diagnosis or treatment for a health condition, including decisions about the correct medication for your condition, as well as prior to undertaking any specific exercise or dietary routine.

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