Medicare Part B Explained
What is Medicare Part B?
What does Medicare Part B cover?
- Doctor and other health care provider services
- Outpatient surgery
- Lab and x-ray services
- Ambulance services
- Preventive services
- Durable medical equipment like prosthetics, wheelchairs, and hospital beds
Services that are NOT covered by Medicare but can be covered by Medicare Advantage plans include these:
- Routine hearing, dental, and vision exams
- Hearing aids or glasses (except for glasses after cataract surgery)
- Emergency assistance while traveling outside the U.S.
- Fitness club membership
- Long-term care (such as a nursing home)
- Prescription drug coverage
How much does Medicare Part B cost?
Part B requires you to pay a monthly premium, calculated based on your adjusted gross income, along with a yearly deductible before coverage begins. You are also responsible for paying part of the costs that Part B does not cover.
Your costs include:
- Your Medicare Part B monthly premium, if applicable.
- Yearly deductible (paid before Medicare begins paying).
- Coinsurance (percentage of the cost that Medicare does not pay).
When am I eligible for Medicare Part B?
You can enroll in Medicare Part B if:
- You are age 65 or older, or
- You are under age 65 with certain disabilities, or
- You have permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis.
How do I get Medicare Part B?
If you already get benefits from Social Security, you'll get Medicare Parts A and Part B automatically when you're first eligible and don't need to sign up. Medicare will send you a "Welcome to Medicare" packet three months before you turn 65. You can also contact the Social Security Administration to sign up for Original Medicare. Go to SSA.gov or call toll-free 1-800-772-1213 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. TTY users should call 1-800-325-0778.