Are Medicare Part B Giveback Plans Worth It?
The Medicare Part B Premium Giveback is a popular selling point for certain Medicare Advantage plans. Why wouldn’t it be? It’s effectively paying for a designated portion or all of your Part B premium, which could save you a good bit of money each month. Even though the Part B Giveback may be popular, it’s not perfect and there may be circumstances where another type of plan may be more preferable. That may sound crazy but bear with us. We’re going to look at why a Part B Giveback is beneficial and when it may not be the best value for you.
When you get down to it, if you can find a Medicare Advantage plan you like that offers a Part B Giveback, you’re in luck. You’ll be getting money back from a plan that also suits your needs. While the amount you receive can vary from plan to plan, any amount represents some value added.
Also, if you’re healthy and don’t use your coverage often, the reduction in your Part B premium can really be worth it. Let’s examine the best-case scenario:
You have a Medicare plan that pays the entire Part B premium for you ($170.10 in 2022). That’s over $2,000 you’re receiving back into your Social Security check due to the Giveback each year. If you’re not using your Medicare plan much outside of fully covered regular checkups, this could either cover the entirety of your medical and prescription costs for the year or go into savings for a rainy day.
Is There Value?
Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that is the best-case scenario. Most Part B Givebacks don’t offer an amount that covers the entirety of the Part B premium. They generally fall between $30 and $100. That’s certainly not an insignificant amount of money, but it does mean you’ll still be paying at least a portion of the Part B premium. This may not be a big deal, especially since many Medicare Advantage plans come with the Part B premium anyway, but if you’re searching for a plan with a Giveback incentive specifically, it may limit your options and rule out plans that may suit your coverage needs better.
You may run the risk of having a more expensive plan while effectively missing out on the benefit of the giveback.
Also, the Giveback may not cover a service you need more often, meaning you end up spending more out-of-pocket due to a lack of coverage. This may be worth it if the amount you spend out-of-pocket is less than what you receive from the giveback, but unless it’s a sizable difference, you’re running the risk of having a more expensive plan while effectively missing out on the benefit of the giveback.
Let’s say that one of the plans offered a $50 per month Giveback, but this was matched with a $50 in-network and 40 percent out-of-network specialist visit charge. If your current health circumstances cause you to see multiple specialists monthly, the costs of this plan may quickly outweigh the value of the Part B Premium Giveback.
Depending on where you live, your Giveback options may be limited.
This all assumes you have multiple Part B Premium Giveback plans available in your area. Of the 56 Medicare Advantage plans near our office, there are six plans featuring a Giveback benefit as part of the plan (called Part B premium reduction on Medicareful). That’s just about 11 percent of the plans. In comparison, a neighboring city has three Giveback plans out of 48, which calculates to only 6 percent. This means depending on where you live, your Giveback options may be limited.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, the Part B Premium Giveback can represent a solid value for you, but it should not be the defining decider for you. When you’re exploring your options, you should consider the Giveback a happy bonus, because you still need to be satisfied with the plan you signed up for. At the same time, as mentioned previously, if your Giveback benefit doesn’t cover the services you need, you may end up paying more out-of-pocket than you would have if you had signed up for a non-Giveback plan. So, when choosing a Medicare plan, there are a number of factors to consider, but the chief considerations should be:
- Does the plan cover your needs sufficiently?
- Does the network cover the health care and service providers you need?
- Are the costs, like premiums and deductibles, affordable to you?
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Just remember, when you’re looking for Medicare plans, coverage is king. An initially more expensive plan may be worth it if you receive excellent coverage, which means you have fewer costs down the road.
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