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What is Medicare Part B?

Medicare Part B provides outpatient/medical coverage. The list below provides a summary of Part B-covered services and coverage rules:

  • Provider services: Medically necessary services you receive from a licensed health professional.
  • Durable medical equipment (DME): This is equipment that serves a medical purpose, is able to withstand repeated use, and is appropriate for use in the home. Examples include walkers, wheelchairs, and oxygen tanks. You may purchase or rent DME from a Medicare-approved supplier after your provider certifies you need it.
  • Home health services: Services covered if you are homebound and need skilled nursing or therapy care.
  • Ambulance services: This is emergency transportation, typically to and from hospitals. Coverage for non-emergency ambulance/ambulette transportation is limited to situations in which there is no safe alternative transportation available, and where the transportation is medically necessary.
  • Preventive services: These are screenings and counseling intended to prevent illness, detect conditions, and keep you healthy. In most cases, preventive care is covered by Medicare with no coinsurance.
  • Therapy services: These are outpatient physical, speech, and occupational therapy services provided by a Medicare-certified therapist.
  • Mental health services.
  • X-rays and lab tests.
  • Chiropractic care when manipulation of the spine is medically necessary to fix a subluxation of the spine (when one or more of the bones of the spine move out of position).
  • Select prescription drugs, including immunosuppressant drugs, some anti-cancer drugs, some anti-emetic drugs, some dialysis drugs, and drugs that are typically administered by a physician.

This list includes commonly covered services and items, but it is not a complete list. Keep in mind that Medicare does not usually pay the full cost of your care, and you will likely be responsible for some portion of the cost-sharing (deductibles, coinsurances, copayments) for Medicare-covered services.

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