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Medicare Part B — What Does it Cover?

Making sense of the different parts of Medicare and what they cover can get confusing. We’re here to make it easy.

Medicare-Annual-Enrollment-Period

What is Medicare Part B?

Original Medicare—Medicare coverage from the US government—consists of two parts. Part A is premium-free for most people, and you can learn more about it here. Part B requires a monthly premium and covers a different set of services. Coverage is available to most individuals 65 and older, as well as some younger individuals with disabilities. Some people wait to sign up for Part B, choosing not to start coverage when they become eligible.

What does Medicare Part B Cover?

Part B covers preventative and medically necessary services and supplies. “Medically necessary” is an important qualifier for Part B. Medicare.gov defines it this way: “Services or supplies that are needed to diagnose or treat your medical condition and that meet accepted standards of medical practice.”

Here are some of the services and supplies that may be covered, depending on your situation:

  • Medical Equipment
    • Diabetes supplies
    • Mobility equipment—walker, wheelchair, cane, etc.
    • Hospital bed
    • & more
  • Ambulance transportation, when necessary
  • Mental health treatment
  • Mammograms
  • Flu shot
  • Yearly check-up

Many more services are covered by Medicare Part B. This is only a partial list for example.

Coverage decisions depend on the individual situation and may vary by geographic area. If you have questions about a specific service, you can search the Medicare coverage list or ask your doctor.

How to Sign Up for Medicare Part B

Individuals can enroll in Medicare Part B through the Social Security Administration. Enrollment can be completed:

  • Online
  • By phone: 1-800-772-1213 (TTY: 1-800-325-0778)
  • In person at a local Social Security office

Additional Coverage

While Medicare Parts A and B are the only parts of Original Medicare, individuals can find additional coverage through private insurance plans, such as Medicare Advantage (sometimes called Part C) or Medicare Supplement plans. These private insurance carriers are approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and can also cover your Original Medicare services.

Learn More

There’s a lot more to Medicare, but don’t get overwhelmed! We have easy guides to everything Medicare.

If you ever need assistance comparing Medicare plans, our licensed health agents are available Monday-Friday for no-cost consultations.