Medicare Part B is the branch of Medicare that can be considered Medical Insurance. While Part D focuses on Prescription Drug Insurance and Part A on Hospital Insurance, Part B’s role is different. Medicare Part B focuses heavily on preventative measures, and unlike Medicare Part A, Medicare Part B is not free. A monthly premium based on former income is applied to those on Medicare Part B. In addition to medically necessary doctor’s visits, Part B covers the following preventative services:
- Clinical Research: Clinical Research tests different types of medical care. Doctors and researchers may examine a new treatment’s effectiveness and safety and Medicare Part B will pay for tests and visits that are a part of clinical research.
- Ambulance Services: Part B covers transportation to the hospital when medically necessary services are critical. Part B covers ground transportation and in the event of traffic congestion and distance, sometimes an airplane or helicopter.
- Durable Medical Equipment: Equipment that is considered medically necessary will be provided to patients.
- Second Opinions: If your doctor finds that you are in need of surgery, you have the right to get a second opinion. This will allow you to understand your treatment options and be a participant in treatment decisions.
- Limited Outpatient Drugs: Some drugs can be covered by Medicare Part B. Such drugs include drugs used with an item of durable medical equipment, blood clotting factors, injectable and infused drugs, as well as oral end-stage renal disease drugs. There are some other drugs that are covered, so contact 1-800-MEDICARE to learn more.
If you are unsure if Medicare will cover your specific preventative care, consult a health care provider to pinpoint which service and supplies you need. In most cases your doctor will know if Medicare will cover your treatment. You can also contact Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE or visit Medicare.gov and search your coverage. Coverage is also subject to federal and state laws, changing national coverage decisions, and changing local coverage decisions.