Medicare Part B
Medicare Part B provides coverage for normal outpatient medical services once admitted to a hospital and some home bound services administered by physicians and skilled nurses or therapists.
What does Medicare Part B cover?
- Provider services: Services deemed medically necessary are covered under Part B.
- Durable medical equipment: Equipment that serves a medical purpose, able to withstand repeated use, and appropriate for home use, is covered.
- Home health services: If you are homebound and need skilled nursing or therapy care, you’re covered under Part B.
- Ambulance services: Emergency transportation by ambulance. Limited coverage for non-emergency transportation is available in which there is no safe alternative as long as it is medically necessary.
- Preventative services: Outpatient physical, speech, and occupational therapy services are covered as long as they are administered by a Medicare-certified therapist.
- X-rays and lab tests: All doctor ordered x-rays and lab tests are covered.
- Chiropractic care: Only when medically necessary to fix subluxation of the spine.
- Certain prescription drugs: Certain drugs such as immunosuppressants, select anti-cancer, select antiemetic, select dialysis, and other typical drugs administered by a physician.
How much does Medicare Part B cost?
There is a monthly premium. The monthly premium is decided by the government and determined by your income level.
Do I have to apply for Medicare Part B?
If you are already receiving Social Security benefits you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare Part B. Your card will arrive in the mail by the month before your birthday.
If you do not receive Social Security benefits, you have to enroll yourself. You can do it online, on the phone, or in person at your local Social Security office. Your card will come within three weeks after you apply.
Medicare Part B excess charges
So, what are you on the hook for under Part B?
Beyond your specialized deductible, you will pay 20% of the remaining costs with no limits or cap. You will also pay for any excess charges a provider or facility may charge beyond what Medicare reimburses.
If this sounds out of your budget, don’t worry. There are Medicare Supplement plans that are meant to cover the gaps left over by Part B.