Medicare Part B


Q. I have asked Medicare directly why I need Medicare Part B. I am a 100 percent disabled veteran and a retired federal employee. As a 100 percent disabled veteran, I receive all medical care and prescriptions directly from the Veterans Affairs Department. No one seems to know if I do or do not need Medicare Part B other than to give the government a $100-a-month premium. Why can’t anyone answer this question?

A. The reason no one can answer that question is because one size doesn’t fit all. Whether Medicare Part B is right or wrong for you is something you’ll have to figure out for yourself. You’ll have to compare the benefits Part B offers with your other medical coverage. In short, Part B helps cover medically necessary services such as doctors’ services, various kinds of therapy, outpatient care, durable medical equipment, home health services, including part-time and intermittent nursing care, and other medical services. Part B also covers some preventive services. If you find that these benefits fill gaps in your present coverage or enhance those that you can already receive, and it makes financial sense to pay the premiums, sign up for Part B. If not, don’t.


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Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to

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