Medicare Part B

Part B is insurance that covers medically necessary doctors' services, outpatient care, and many preventive services.

Coverage Medical Services Prescription
Part B Part B covers two types of services:
  • Medically necessary - Services or supplies that are needed to diagnose or treat your medical condition and that meet accepted standards of medical practice.
  • Preventive - Health care to prevent illness (like the flu) or detect it at an early stage.

Covered services include:
  • Doctors' visits
  • Outpatient care
  • Home health care
  • Durable medical equipment and supplies
Limited* Limited

* With a few exceptions, most prescriptions are not covered. Financial protection is also limited under Medicare Part B. Please refer to Medicare & You handbook for a full review of Medicare Parts A and B Coverage.

You will typically pay a monthly premium of $134.00 for Medicare Part B in 2017. You will pay for services out-of-pocket until you reach the amount of your annual deductible—$183 for 2017. After that, Medicare will cover your expenses. During this period, you are responsible for 20% of the services as part of your coinsurance share with Medicare.

Medicare Part B Covers

  • Doctors' visits
  • Lab tests
  • Outpatient care
  • Home health care
  • Durable medical equipment and supplies
  • Ambulance services

Preventive care services covered by, but not limited to, Medicare Part B (in 2017):

  • Breast cancer screening
  • Cardiovascular disease screenings
  • Diabetes screenings
  • Diabetes self-management training
  • Glaucoma tests
  • Flu shots
  • Laboratory services
  • Physical therapy

Medicare Part B Enrollment Information

Initial enrollment

You can enroll in Medicare Part B (and Part A) during a 7-month period that aligns with your 65th birthday. You can begin enrolling in 3 months before your birthday, the month of your birthday and three months after your birthday.

General enrollment

If you don't enroll within your initial enrollment period, you can sign up during the general enrollment period between January 1 and March 31 each year. If you sign up during the general enrollment period, your coverage will begin that same year on July 1. Those with qualifying disabilities can enroll three months before until three months after the 25th consecutive month of disability.

Enrolling late in Medicare Part B may result in a late enrollment penalty. Go to Medicare.gov for more details.

If you are unsure if you have Medicare Part A and/or Part B, or have eligibility questions due to disability, please see Medicare.gov for more information.