At 72 years old, Bennett feels better than he has in years and sees the doctor only on rare occasions. He lives near a VA medical center and plans to get care there when needed in the future.

He is well suited for a Medicare Advantage Plan with a Part B reimbursement. There are several in his community, but the two plans with the highest reimbursement offer $100 and $95 back. This money will be credited to his social security check to take some of the sting out of that $170.10 monthly Part B payment (2022 price). Refund amounts offered on these plans vary widely by county and are not available in every county.

Both plans he considered have a $0 monthly premium, so there was no cost to Bennett to enroll. The plan reimbursing $100 does not include dental or vision care—both services that Bennett needs. The plan reimbursing $95 includes $1000 in dental coverage with $0 patient copays, plus $200 in vision coverage, so that’s the one Bennett chose.

Since Bennett has drug coverage through the VA, he could have chosen a Medicare Advantage plan without prescription drugs, but the Part B refund amounts for those plans in his county were just $30 and $50, so he opted to get a Medicare Advantage plan with prescription drug coverage in order to get the greater refund. He is unlikely to use the plan for healthcare services or prescriptions since he intends to use the VA for both.

Medicare Advantage plans with Part B refunds are heavily advertised so many people have questions about them, but they are not suitable for many people. They are open to anyone who has Part A and Part B and resides in the service area of the plan, but they were designed primarily for Veterans and others who intend to seek care outside of the Advantage plan. Copays for specialists, hospital stays, and all other services are much higher with the Part B refund plans than with other Advantage plans.

Veterans and those who have coverage other than the Medicare Advantage plan’s network and intend to get care outside the plan will appreciate the credit to their social security check. Those who receive frequent care through the plan will spend so much more on copays for services that their payments could exceed the Part B refund received. Still, it is worth seeing what’s available in your county and determining whether it is a good option for you.

People who receive help from their state’s Medicaid program for low income earners are not eligible for Part B premium refunds because they don’t usually pay the Part B  premium at all. The Medicare Advantage plans for those on both Medicare and Medicaid are waaaaay more generous than these plans with the Part B refund.