Advantages of Medicare Part B Giveback

Senior woman helping explain Medicare Part B Giveback to senior man.

Medicare Part B Giveback

Part B Giveback has suddenly become the most popular benefit in Medicare Advantage plans.  As you know, Medicare Part B has a premium that is set by The Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) annually. The standard premium for 2021 is $148.50 and increases based on income from the previous year.

Each Medicare beneficiary pays this premium, as it is automatically deducted from the Social Security payment before the check is deposited or sent to the individual. For those who have Medicaid or other subsidies, the Medicare Part B premiums are paid with state funds or other assistance programs.  Somehow, someway a Medicare Part B premium is collected and paid.

Insurance companies that offer Medicare Advantage plans have started to offer all or a portion of the Medicare Part B Premium as a benefit.  Who wouldn’t like to see an increase in Social Security monthly deposit of up to $148.50?  Annually, this brings almost $1800 income to the homes where there is one Medicare beneficiary.  For homes with two Medicare beneficiaries, this is an additional household income of $3600.  That’s a trip to see the grandchildren, dinner out more often, a few rounds of golf or a new golf cart, household expenses or just buying food.   

What does it do?

Exactly, what is the Medicare Part B Giveback? Called by several names this is simply a reduction in Medicare Part B premium.  There are 48 states and Puerto Rico in 2021 where plans with Part B Giveback are offered.  These plans have become more and more popular, for obvious reasons. Not all plans will have this feature, although more companies have considered offering givebacks at some level.

There is confusion about who gets the Part B giveback and who doesn’t. If you are paying the Part B premium, and the plan allows for an allowance or giveback, you are eligible to receive the giveback.  Eligibility for the plan is still contingent upon living in the plan’s area and having Medicare Parts A & B.

Doctor writing out a prescription for Medicare Part B
The Medicare Advantage plan that offers a reduction may or may not have prescription drugs.

For those who do not pay Medicare Part B premium, people who receive Medicaid or other assistance, the giveback portion of a plan doesn’t apply as you have no premium to be repaid.  The plans only work with and through Social Security, so if you are paying Medicare Part B premium and join a plan that has givebacks the amount you receive back will be seen only in your Social Security check or deposit.

No cash exchanges hands between you and the insurance carrier. This entire arrangement is done through Social Security and like other transactions can take two to three months to “catch up” to the correct amount you should receive. Social Security sends a letter explaining any adjustments to your benefit payment from them.

Note that the Medicare Part B Giveback or premium reduction is only available with Medicare Advantage Plans.  The Medicare Advantage plan that offers a reduction may or may not have prescription drugs.  There is no Medicare Part B premium reduction given through a Medicare Supplement plan. Eligible Medicare Supplement payments follow covered and approved Original Medicare payments as a trailer follows a truck. Original Medicare is the truck (sometimes called the tractor) and the Medicare Supplement is the trailer that follows where the truck leads.  The Medicare Supplement isn’t a replacement to Medicare, it is just a supplement to original Medicare.

How To Enroll

To enroll in a plan that offers Medicare Part B Giveback you must meet the plan’s eligibility requirements; live in the service area and have Medicare Parts A and B.

Sometimes the Part B Giveback is mistaken for the Medicare Savings Program’s income-based Part B premium reduction. This is a feature that can also reduce your Part B responsibility, but that would be tied to having a very low income relative to the average Medicare beneficiary. 

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