Medicare Part B

Medicare Part B helps pay for doctors’ services, outpatient hospital care, medical supplies, and some other medical services that Medicare Part A does not cover, such as the services of physical, occupational, and speech therapists in an outpatient setting, and some home health care. Part B also covers outpatient mental health care.

Other services covered by Medicare Part B include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Clinical laboratory services: blood tests, urinalysis, and more
  • Home health services: part-time skilled care, home health aide services
  • Durable medical equipment (wheelchairs, walkers, canes, diabetic supplies (lancets and test strips). Self-administered insulin and syringes covered under Part D
  • Outpatient hospital services: services for the diagnosis or treatment of an illness or injury
  • Blood: pints of blood needed as an outpatient or as part of a medical service covered by Medicare Part B, after the first 3 pints
  • Ambulance service: when other transportation would endanger your health (for more information on coverage, payment, and rights and protection issues related to ambulance services, see Medicare Coverage of Ambulance Services)
  • Part B also covers some preventive services

Preventive Services

Medicare Part B also covers preventive services like exams, lab tests, and screenings to help prevent diseases and illnesses. Preventive services may find health problems early, when treatment works best. Learn more about Medicare Preventive Services.

What Preventive Services are covered?

  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening
  • Alcohol misuse screenings and counseling
  • Bone mass measurements (bone density)
  • Cardiovascular disease screenings
  • Cardiovascular disease (behavioral therapy)
  • Cervical and vaginal cancer screening
  • Colorectal cancer screenings
  • Depression screenings
  • Diabetes screenings
  • Diabetes self-management training
  • Glaucoma tests
  • Hepatitis C screening test
  • HIV screening
  • Lung cancer screening
  • Mammograms (screening)
  • Nutrition therapy services
  • Obesity screenings and counseling
  • One-time “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit
  • Prostate cancer screenings
  • Sexually transmitted infections screening and counseling
  • Immunizations:
    • Flu shots
    • Hepatitis B shots
    • Pneumococcal shots
  • Tobacco use cessation counseling
  • Yearly “Wellness” visit

* Please be aware that many preventive services are covered at 100% only if your provider accepts Medicare Assignment.

What is not covered by Part B?

Original Medicare doesn’t cover everything. Items and services that are not covered include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Dental care and dentures (with only a few exceptions)
  • Cosmetic surgery
  • Health care while traveling outside the U.S. (except in limited cases)
  • Hearing aids
  • Eye care (routine exam), eye refractions, and most eyeglasses
  • Long-term care, such as custodial care in a nursing home
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