Because Medicare Part B usually involves paying a monthly premium, it is natural to be concerned about what exactly it covers. Basically, it covers two different types of services.
Outpatient Medical Services
Firstly, Medicare Part B is meant to cover necessary outpatient medical services if you already have a medical condition that needs to be diagnosed and treated. This might include:
- Normal medical costs if you take part in a clinical research study;
- Emergency ambulance costs, including by plane or helicopter if necessary;
- Special medical equipment you might need in your home such as canes, crutches, hospital beds, oxygen equipment, walkers, and wheelchairs;
- Inpatient, outpatient, and partial hospitalization for mental health problems;
- Getting a second opinion, if you need one, before surgery;
- Certain outpatient prescription drugs related to your medical treatment.
Services to Prevent or Detect Illness
- Flu shots, hepatitis B shots, and pneumococcal shots;
- Screenings for various types of cancer such as breast, colorectal, and prostate cancer;
- Screenings for cardiovascular disease;
- Screenings for other diseases such as diabetes, glaucoma, and HIV;
- Bone mass measurements for those at risk of osteoporosis;
- Screenings and counseling for alcohol misuse and depression;
- Counseling on quitting smoking;
- Screening and counseling on sexually transmitted infections;
- A first “Welcome to Medicare” visit and a yearly wellness visit.
If you are not sure whether or not Medicare will cover services you think you need, ask your doctor.
Considering a Medicare Advantage plan? By law, all of the coverage benefits available in Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) must be offered by Medicare Advantage plans (Part C).