Around 40% of Medicare Advantage plans have no monthly premium, but did you know some plans actually reduce your Part B premium?
The Medicare giveback benefit, or Part B premium reduction plan, is becoming more available and popular among beneficiaries. Though not an official Medicare program, this benefit is offered by some Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) and covers some or all of your Part B monthly premium ($164.90 in 2023).
While not all plans offer this benefit, it's possible to find one where you'd pay a reduced premium amount up to $164.90. This can help maximize your savings while on Medicare, though there are a number of considerations when deciding if these plans are right for you. Read on to learn more about the giveback benefit and how you could qualify.
What is the Part B premium reduction benefit?
When you're enrolled in Medicare Part B, you must pay a monthly premium of $164.90. The giveback benefit, or Part B premium reduction, is when the Part C Medicare Advantage (MA) plan reduces the amount you pay toward that premium. Your reduction could range from less than $1 to the full premium amount.
Even though you're paying less for the monthly premium, you don't technically get money back. Instead, you just pay the reduced amount and are saving the amount you'd normally pay.
If your premium comes out of your Social Security check, your payment will reflect the lower amount. If you don't pay that way, the giveback benefit would be credited to your monthly statement. Instead of paying the full $164.90, you'd only pay the amount with the giveback benefit included.
For example, if you typically pay $164.90 per month but your MA plan's giveback benefit is $50, you don't get $50 back each month. Instead, you'd only pay $114.90 per month, keeping that $50 in your wallet. If your plan offers a full $164.90 refund, you wouldn't have a Part B monthly premium to pay.
How do I qualify for the giveback?
You may qualify for a premium reduction if you:
- Are enrolled in Part A and Part B
- Do not rely on government or other assistance for your Part B premium
- Live in the zip code service area of a plan that offers this program
- Enroll in an MA plan that provides a giveback benefit
Because not all plans offer this benefit, it's important to do your research and compare plans, benefits, and costs to ensure you're making the best decision for you.
How do I receive the giveback benefit?
If you enroll in a plan that offers a giveback benefit, you'll find a section in the plan's summary of benefits or evidence of coverage (EOC) that outlines the Part B premium buy-down. Here, you'll see how much of a reduction you'll get. Or, you can contact the plan directly.
It's important to know you aren't reimbursed, you'll just pay the reduced premium amount. The reduced amount will reflect in your Social Security payments and your SS checks will be higher than they used to be because less is being taken out for the premium. However, note that it could take Social Security up to 3 months to process your premium rebate. After that time, you'll see an increase in your check amount.
How to find plans that offer the giveback benefit
Not all MA plans offer this benefit, so you must find a plan that does to take advantage of the savings opportunity.
To enroll in an MA plan, you must live within its service area. This means you may have a limited number of options, or the reduction program may not be offered by plans in your area.
Find a Medicare Plan that offers Part B giveback benefit
Depending on how many Medicare Advantage plans are offered in your area, this may take considerable time. Some zip codes only have a few, while others have literally dozens. You can save time and get all of your Medicare questions answered by calling us toll-free and speaking to one of our knowledgeable, licensed Medicare agents. They'll help you compare your plan options, including the full out-of-pocket cost, make sure the plan you choose includes your prescriptions, and much more.
Downsides to the Medicare giveback benefit
While the giveback benefit can help save you money, there are a few things to be aware of when considering enrolling in an MA plan that offers it.
- Availability. One of these plans may not be available in your area.
- Possible reduction in benefits. MA plans cover everything Original Medicare does and more, typically including coverage for things like routine dental, vision, and hearing. However, some plans that offer a premium reduction benefit eliminate those other benefits to make up for the lower premium. You should weigh the loss of these benefits with the premium savings you'd get.
- May not save you money in the long run. Plans that offer a premium reduction may have a higher annual deductible, co-pays, or co-insurance. They may also have a smaller network of providers, and you'd have to pay more to see someone out-of-network.
- Givebacks vary. While you could get a premium reduction of the full $164.90, it could also be as low as $1. That may not be worth it depending on the other costs and benefits offered or not offered by the plan.
- Giveback amounts could change. MA plans are offered by private insurance companies that set their own fees and costs, and they can (and usually do) change them each year. This means the premium reduction could also change from year to year.
There are so many factors in choosing the right Medicare Advantage plan for your unique needs. That's the true value of using a Medicare agent.
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