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Medicare Part B

Close-up of doctor showing chest x-ray to patient.

Medicare Part B covers medically necessary services or supplies that your doctor needs to diagnose or treat a wide array of medical conditions. For example, doctor visits, outpatient medical services, and standard medical and preventative care that is not covered by Medicare Part A are covered by Part B. To maintain Medicare Part B, you must pay a monthly premium. Most medically necessary services are covered under Medicare Part B and many types of durable medical equipment.

Which Medical Services are Covered by Medicare Part B?

Part B covers many medical services, including health screenings, ambulance services, blood tests, bone density tests, cardiac treatments, lab services, implantable defibrillators, diabetes, other screenings, and a wide array of standard medical services.

Medicare Part B covers treatments your doctors deem medically necessary, including chemotherapy, dialysis, imaging tests, and transplants. However, Medicare Part B does not cover routine physical exams, prescription drug costs, dental care, vision care, hearing aids, or alternative medical services such as acupuncture.

Are You Eligible for Medicare Part B?

If you are 65 or older, disabled, or have end-stage renal disease, you are eligible for Medicare Part B. When you enroll in Medicare, you can enroll in Part B. If you do not enroll at that time, your premium will depend on your income. If you do not enroll when you first become eligible for Medicare, you may need to pay a late enrollment penalty. So it makes sense to purchase Medicare Part B when you first enroll in the program.

What Does Medicare Part B Cost?

Your price could be higher or lower based on the income reported on your tax return two years before your enrollment. You will also be responsible for your deductible, coinsurance (about 20 percent of the cost of medical services), and copays for some services, such as outpatient hospital visits. You may or may not be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part B. It is advised that you speak with a local insurance agent to help you navigate the entire Medicare process, as it can be challenging to understand your options without guidance.

*Disclaimer: This page has not been reviewed or endorsed by or any member of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

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