Understanding Medicare Part B

alphasoupToday, we’re exploring more about Medicare, and we take a look at Medicare Part B, which covers medical insurance. Other articles in our Understanding Medicare series are accessible here and here.

Did you know Part B is optional? But, it’s also “affordable” for most people, so they opt in. It comes at a low premium and has a lower deductible, too.

Medicare Part B Coverage

While inpatient hospital, skilled nursing facilities and hospice are covered by Part A as hospitalization, Part B is medical insurance. There’s a really long list for what’s covered in Part B, and here are some of the most common services:
• Doctor expenses
• Outpatient or ambulatory surgi-center medical and surgical services and supplies
• Diagnostic tests
• Durable medical equipment (wheelchairs, hospital beds, oxygen and walkers)
• Second surgical opinions
• Outpatient mental health care and physical and occupational therapy
• Radiation therapy
• Renal dialysis and transplants for heart, intestinal, lungs, bone marrow and liver
• Rural health clinics and federally qualified health center services
For many diseases, Medicare covers a variety of aspects for each. When you enroll in Medicare, there will be a booklet providing information around each specific disease.
Home health is also covered under Part B. Perhaps someone has not been in hospital to have Part A benefits kick in. That means Part B benefits will cover the home-health needs. They may include part-time skilled nursing, physical therapy, speech-language therapy, medical equipment (wheelchair, oxygen, hospital bed, etc.) and other services such as ambulance transportation.

Preventive Care

The good news is that preventive care is also covered. You can get Medicare benefits for things like:
• Breast cancer screenings
• Cardiovascular screenings
• Diabetes screenings, services and supplies
• Medical nutrition therapy
• Colorectal cancer screenings
• Pap test and pelvic exam
• Glaucoma screening

For more information about Medicare, the best resource online is http://Medicare.gov.

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