What Does Medicare Part B Cover?

You must have heard about Medicare and its parts. Do you know what sort of coverage you will receive if you go for Medicare Part B? Continue reading to find out.

Together with Part A, Medicare Part B makes up what is known as Original Medicare. It is estimated that by the end of 2016, 67 percent of individuals who were using Medicare, were enrolled in Original Medicare. Medicare’s alphabetical parts can be a bit confounding. To improve on the cycle, we have arranged updated information on what Medicare Part B covers, along with expenses, enrollment, and the qualification prerequisites you should know of. What does Medicare Part B cover? More or less, Medicare Part B covers outpatient care, including medically fundamental administrations you need in order to treat a clinical sickness or condition. It likewise covers preventive care like screenings, specific vaccines, and mental health counselling. With Part B, you can be consistent with your yearly exams and health visits, in addition to profit by administrations, for example, influenza shots that may keep you from becoming ill in any case. On the off chance that Medicare appears to be overwhelming to you, you are not the only one. For this reason, this article has all the information you need to make understanding Medicare Part B simpler. Without further delay, let us jump straight into it.

What is Medicare?

Medicare is a U.S. federal government health care coverage program that sponsors medical care services. The arrangement covers individuals age 65 or more, younger individuals who meet certain eligibility standards, and people with specific illnesses. Medicare is separated into various plans that cover an assortment of medical care circumstances — some of which include some significant downfalls to the insured individual. While this permits the program to offer customers more decision as far as expenses and inclusion are concerned, it likewise acquaints intricacy for those looking for with join.

Medicare inclusion depends on 3 principle factors:

  • Federal and state laws.
  • National inclusion choices made by Medicare about whether something is covered.
  • Local coverage choices made by organizations in each state that process claims for Medicare. These organizations choose whether something is clinically important and ought to be covered around there.

There are two different ways to see whether Medicare covers what you need:

  • Converse with your PCP or other medical care supplier concerning why you need certain administrations or supplies. Inquire whether Medicare will cover them. You may require something that is normally covered, however your supplier imagines that Medicare will not cover it in your circumstance. Assuming this is the case, you will need to read and sign a notice which says that you may need to pay for the item, service, or supply.
  • See whether Medicare covers your item, service, or supply.

What is Medicare Part B?

This part of Medicare covers doctors visits, lab tests, analytic screenings, clinical equipment, ambulance services, and other outpatient administrations. As compared to Part A, Part B includes more expenses, and you might need to concede pursuing it on the off chance that you are still working and have insurance through your work, or are covered by your life partner’s health plan. Be that as it may, in the event that you do not have other protection and do not go for Part B when you initially enroll for Medicare, you will probably need to pay a higher monthly charge however long you are in the program. The federal government sets the Part B monthly premium, which is $148.50 for 2021. It very well might be higher if your pay is more than $88,000. You will likewise be liable for a yearly deductible, set at $203 for 2021. What’s more, is that you will need to pay 20% of the bills for doctors visits and other outpatient administrations. On the off chance that you are gathering Social Security, the monthly premium will be deducted from your monthly benefit.

What does Medicare Part B cover?

Medicare Part B covers 80% of the Medicare-endorsed expenses of specific services. Most, however not all, of these services are directed on an outpatient premise. This implies that you do not get them as a patient in a hospital. There are a few special cases for this, for example, emergency room visits and the services you get there, regardless of whether you are subsequently conceded to a hospital. To get inclusion, your care should be controlled by a Medicare-affirmed provider, like an MD, DO, NP, or other clinical experts. Part B covers 2 sorts of administrations:

  • Medically necessary services: Services or supplies that are expected to analyze, diagnose or treat your ailment and that satisfies acknowledged guidelines of clinical practice.
  • Preventive services: Health care to forestall disease (like influenza) or identify it at a beginning phase, when treatment is bound to work best. You do not pay anything for most preventive services on the off chance that you get the administrations from a health care provider who acknowledges assignment.

The basic medically-necessary services covered by Medicare Part B include:

  • Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening
  • Ambulance Services
  • Blood
  • Bone Mass Measurement (Bone Density)
  • Cardiac Rehabilitation
  • Cardiovascular Screenings
  • Chiropractic Services (limited)
  • Clinical Laboratory Services
  • Clinical Research Studies
  • Colorectal Cancer Screenings
  • Defibrillator (Implantable Automatic)
  • Diabetes Screenings
  • Diabetes Self-Management Training
  • Diabetes Supplies
  • Doctor Services
  • Durable Medical Equipment (like walkers)
  • EKG Screening
  • Emergency Department Services
  • Eyeglasses (limited)
  • Federally-Qualified Health Center Services
  • Flu shots
  • Foot Exams and Treatment (Diabetes-related)
  • Glaucoma Tests
  • Hearing and Balance Exams
  • Hepatitis B Shots
  • HIV Screening
  • Home Health Services
  • Kidney Dialysis Services and Supplies
  • Kidney Disease Education Services
  • Mammograms (screening)
  • Medical Nutrition Therapy Services
  • Mental Health Care (outpatient)
  • Non-doctor Services
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Outpatient Medical and Surgical Services and Supplies
  • Pap Tests and Pelvic Exams (includes clinical breast exam)
  • Physical Exams
  • Physical Therapy
  • Pneumococcal Shot
  • Prescription Drugs (limited)
  • Prostate Cancer Screenings
  • Prosthetic/Orthotic Items
  • Pulmonary Rehabilitation
  • Rural Health Clinic Services
  • Second Surgical Opinions
  • Smoking Cessation (counseling to stop smoking)
  • Speech-Language Pathology Services
  • Surgical Dressing Services
  • Telehealth
  • Tests (other than lab tests)
  • Transplants and Immunosuppressive Drugs

Does Medicare Part B cover doctor visits?

Medicare Part B pays for outpatient clinical care, for example, doctor visits, some home health administrations, some lab tests, a few medications, and some clinical equipment. (Hospital and nursing  facility stays are covered under Medicare Part A, along with some home health administrations.)

Does Medicare Part B cover prescription drugs?

Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers a set amount of outpatient prescription drugs under restricted conditions. Normally, Part B covers drugs you would not give to yourself, similar to those you get at a doctor’s office or hospital outpatient setting. Here are a few types of drugs Part B covers:

  • Drugs used with an item of durable medical equipment (DME): Medicare covers drugs implanted through DME, similar to an infusion pump or a nebulizer, if the medication utilized with the pump is sensible and essential.
  • Some antigens: Medicare helps pay for antigens on the off chance that they are set up by a doctor and are given by an appropriately instructed individual (who could be you, the patient) under proper supervision.
  • Injectable osteoporosis drugs: Medicare helps pay for an injectable medication in case you are a woman with osteoporosis who meets the standards for the Medicare home health benefit and has a bone fracture that a doctor guarantees was associated with post-menopausal osteoporosis. A specialist should affirm that you can’t give yourself the injection or figure out how to give yourself the medication by injection. Medicare will not cover the home health nurse or help to give the injection except if family or parental figures can’t or reluctant to give you the medication by injection.
  • Erythropoiesis-stimulating agents: Medicare helps pay for erythropoietin by infusion on the off chance that you have End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) or you need this medication to treat anemia associated with certain other conditions.
  • Blood clotting factors: Medicare helps pay for blood clotting factors you give yourself by infusion, in the event that you have hemophilia.
  • Injectable and infused drugs: Medicare provides coverage for most injectable and infused drugs, especially given by a licensed medical provider because they aren’t typically self administered.
  • Oral End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) drugs: Medicare helps pay for some oral ESRD drugs if a similar medication is accessible in injectable forms and the Part B ESRD advantage covers it.
  • Parenteral and enteral nutrition (intravenous and tube feeding): Medicare helps pay for specific nutrients on the off chance that you can’t retain nourishment through your intestinal plot or take food by mouth.
  • Intravenous Immune Globulin (IVIG) provided in home: Medicare helps pay for IVIG in the event that you have a diagnosis of primary immune deficiency disease. A doctor should conclude whether it is clinically fitting for the IVIG to be given in your home. Part B covers the IVIG itself. Be that as it may, Part B does not pay for other items and administrations identified with you getting the IVIG at home.
  • Shots (vaccinations): Medicare covers influenza shots, pneumococcal shots, Hepatitis B shots, and some other vaccines when they are directly connected to the treatment of an injury or disease.
  • Transplant / immunosuppressive drugs: Medicare covers transplant drug treatment if Medicare helped pay for your organ transplant.

What does Medicare Part B not cover?

Some services are not covered by Part B. In case you need these services, you will be required to pay for them out of pocket. Some examples of these include:

  • routine physical examinations
  • most prescription drugs
  • dental care, including dentures
  • most vision care, including eyeglasses or contact lenses
  • hearing aids
  • long-term care
  • cosmetic surgery
  • alternative health services like acupuncture and massage

In the event that you would like prescription drug coverage, you can buy a Medicare Part D arrangement. Part D plans are offered by private insurance agencies and incorporate most prescription medications. Moreover, Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage) plans incorporate all administrations covered under unique Medicare along with some extra administrations like dental, vision, and even fitness programs. On the off chance that you realize you will require these services quite often, think about a Part C plan.

Medicare Part B eligibility

As a rule, the following groups are qualified for Part B:

  • those age 65 and more
  • individuals with disabilities
  • people with end stage renal disease (ESRD)

An individual should meet all requirements for premium-free Part A to likewise be qualified for Part B when they are first ready to enroll for Medicare. Since individuals regularly cover Medicare taxes while they are working, a great many people are qualified for premium-free Part A, and can likewise join up with Part B when they are first qualified for Medicare. In the event that you need to purchase Part A, you can in any case, still enroll in Part B. Notwithstanding, you should meet the accompanying prerequisites:

  • be age 65 or more
  • be a resident of the United States, either a citizen, or a lawful permanent resident for least 5 consistent years

How much does Medicare Part B cost in 2021?

The vast majority of individuals in the U.S. who worked for in any event 40 quarters and paid Medicare taxes through their payroll, meet all requirements for premium-free Medicare Part A. Be that as it may, a great many people will pay a monthly premium for Medicare Part B. The premium’s expense relies on an individual’s pay before tax. Medicare base their appraisal on tax returns two years before enrollment. In the event that an individual procures over a specific sum, they will pay an Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA). This is an extra charge for higher earners who wish to take on Medicare. The base monthly premium in 2021 for the individuals who make $88,000 or less on their individual tax return, or $176,000 or less on their joint tax return is $148.50 for 2021.

These monthly premium computations accept that an individual tried out Medicare Part B when they originally qualified for it. Some individuals may need to pay an additional charge for late enrollment, which will build their premium. On the off chance that an individual gets profits by one of the accompanying associations, the organization will as a rule pay the Medicare Part B by deducting the premium from their monthly check:

  • Office of Personnel Management
  • Railroad Retirement Board
  • Social Security

Or else, an individual will get a monthly bill from Medicare that they should pay to get their benefits. Presently how about we take a look at each one of the expenses related to Part B in 2021.

Monthly premium

Your monthly premium is the thing that you pay every month for Part B coverage. For 2021, the standard Part B monthly premium is $148.50. Individuals with higher yearly earnings may need to pay higher monthly premiums. Your yearly pay is resolved dependent on your tax returns from two years back. So for 2021, this would be your 2019 tax return. There is additionally a late enrollment punishment that can influence your Part B monthly premium. You will pay this on the off chance that you did not go for Part B when you were first qualified. At the point when you need to take care of the late enrollment penalty, your monthly premium can increment up to 10 percent of the standard premium for every year time span that you were qualified for Part B but did not enroll in it. You will pay this as long as you are enrolled in Part B.


A deductible is something that you need to pay out of your own pocket prior to your Part B plan covering the services. For 2021, the deductible for Part B is $203.


Coinsurance is the percentage of the expense of a service that you pay out of your own pocket after you have reached your deductible. This is usually 20 percent for Part B.


A copay is a set sum that you pay for a service. Co-pays are not normally connected with Part B. Nonetheless, there are a few situations where you may have to pay one. For instance, on the off chance that you use hospital outpatient services, you will be charged a copay.

Out-of-pocket maximums

An out-of-pocket maximum is a limit on the amount you will need to pay out of your own pocket for covered services during the year. Original Medicare does not have an out-of-pocket maximum. When a person has Medicare Part B, they are still responsible for some medical care costs. In 2021, a $203 deductible applies to Medicare Part B. After a person meets their deductible, they will usually pay 20% of the Medicare-affirmed cost for services that incorporate the following:

  • doctor’s services, including check-ups and hospital services
  • tough clinical equipment, such as a walker or wheelchair
  • outpatient treatment

Medicare negotiates with doctors, hospitals, and different organizations to continue to keep its cost as low as possible. A doctor accepts the settled upon service costs while accepting an individual enrolled in a Medicare plan for treatment.

When can you enroll in Medicare Part B?

Some individuals are automatically enrolled in original Medicare whereas others need to sign up. Let us look this further.

Who is automatically enrolled?

Groups that are consequently enrolled in original Medicare are:

  • those who are turning age 65 and already getting retirement benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) or the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB)
  • individuals under the age of 65 with a disability who have been getting disability benefits from the SSA or RRB for 24 months
  • individuals with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) who are getting disability benefits

It is essential to take note that despite the fact that you will be enrolled automatically, Part B is optional. You can choose to delay Part B on the off chance that you wish. One situation where this may happen is if you are already covered by another arrangement through work or through a spouse.

Who must sign up?

Keep in mind that not every person who is qualified for original Medicare will automatically be selected. Some should sign up through the SSA office:

  • Those who are turning 65 years old and are presently not getting retirement benefits from the SSA or RRB can sign up starting 3 months before they turn age 65.
  • Individuals with ESRD can sign up whenever they like — the time your coverage will start may vary.

When can you apply?

  • Initial enrollment period. This is a 7-month window around your 65th birthday when you can sign up for Medicare. It begins 3 months before your birth month, includes your birth month, and extends 3 months after your birthday. During this time, you can select for all parts of Medicare without a penalty.
  • Open enrollment period (October 15–December 7). During this time, you can switch from original Medicare (parts A and B) to Part C (Medicare Advantage), or from Part C back to original Medicare. You can also switch Part C plans or add, eliminate, or change a Part D arrangement.
  • General enrollment period (January 1–March 31). If you did not enroll for Medicare in your initial enrollment period, you can do that during this time frame.
  • Special enrollment period. In the event that you delayed Medicare enrollment for a legitimate reason, you can later enroll during a special enrollment period. You have 8 months from the end of your coverage or the end of your job, to sign up without penalty.

How does Medicare part B compare with other plans?

Your plan of choice will rely upon your individual needs. You can choose to get an Advantage plan (Medicare Part C) instead of Medicare parts A, B, and D in the event that you want to. Medicare Advantage plans vary both from Medicare Part B and also from each another. They may have various costs, rules, and restrictions associated with them. For instance, some Medicare Advantage plans restrict the doctors you can see to an in-network group. Medicare Part B may have a bigger pool of doctors for you to choose from.

Medicare Advantage plans are needed to cover at any rate, as much as Medicare parts A and B. Some cover extra services, such as dental, hearing, and vision care. Remember that you are not committed to stay with your Medicare plan decision in the event that you feel as if it does not suit you, if your needs change, or under any other circumstance. You can choose an alternate Medicare plan during open enrollment periods every year (October 15 to December 7). This allows you to shift from original Medicare (parts A and B) to a Medicare Advantage plan or vice versa. During open enrollment periods, you can also add services such as Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage) and Medicare supplemental insurance plans (Medigap).

Using both Part B and Medicare Advantage

At the point when a person qualifies for Medicare, they have the choice to decide between conventional Medicare or Medicare Advantage. This is an arrangement through which private insurance companies offer Medicare-endorsed services. Medicare Advantage, or Medicare Part C, provides Medicare Parts A and B, as well as extra services that the insurer may add. These frequently incorporate prescription drug coverage and other extras, such as dental, hearing, or vision coverage. Hence, Medicare Advantage may pay for all or some of the premium for part B. Sometimes, a person should keep paying their monthly Part B premium alongside that of Medicare Advantage. Medicare provides a device to help individuals discover Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans in their area. This should give some sign of the costs to expect and the services accessible in a specific territory.


Medicare Part B is the part of Medicare that covers medically necessary outpatient services. It also covers some preventative services. It is essential for Original Medicare. Individuals who are of age 65 or more, have a disability, or ESRD are qualified for Part B. The costs of part B incorporate monthly premiums, a deductible, and coinsurance or copay. Some services are not covered by Part B and should be paid using cash on hand. Numerous individuals are automatically enrolled in  original Medicare. Some need to sign up through the SSA. For these individuals, it is essential to focus on enrollment deadlines.

Tony Bennett

Tony Bennett

Tony Benett makes his living in the insurance industry by teaching and consulting. He is also recognized by the legal profession as an expert on insurance coverages. His insurance experience includes having worked at the company level, owned an independent general agency and having worked for an insurance association. He has received various certificates over the past few years and helps his clients and readers by giving them a realistic outlook on what they can expect to achieve within their set targets. At Insurance Noon, he is known for his in-depth analysis and attention to details with accuracy. He has been published as one of the most referred agents by his peers in the insurance community. Tony loves the outdoors and most sport events. His passion other than providing excellent advice is playing golf.

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