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Learn about Medicare

Medicare Part B

Medicare Part B is medical insurance. It helps pay for medically necessary services that are needed to diagnose and treat a medical condition. It also covers preventive services. Medicare Part B covers 80% of covered costs after you meet the deductible, and you would pay the other 20%. Part B also covers most doctor services you receive while in a hospital. Parts A and B are called Original Medicare.

When should you sign up?

You should sign up when you're first eligible. If you don't, your monthly premium may increase each year. But if you have a group health plan from an employer, you may get a Special Election Period. Then you may not have to pay more when you're ready to enroll.

Is there a monthly premium?

Yes, you need to pay the Part B premium each month. The amount you pay can change each year depending on your income. Your Part B premium may come out of your Social Security benefits, or you may get a monthly bill.

In general, Part B covers:

  • Doctor services
  • Outpatient care
  • Home health services
  • Durable medical equipment
  • Clinical research
  • Ambulance services
  • Mental health services
  • Second opinions before surgery
  • Home health services
  • Preventive services such as physical exams, screenings and flu shots
  • Some physical and occupational therapy to prevent or lessen complications from an existing medical problem

What's not covered:

  • Dental, vision or hearing care, except in very limited situations
  • Care received outside the United States, except in very limited situations
  • Custodial care such as help with eating, bathing or dressing
  • Prescriptions
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