Medicare Part B: What it Covers and How to Find Out
While Part A typically covers inpatient services, Part B covers outpatient services and supplies needed to diagnose or treat a medical condition, as well as some preventative services. These preventative services include healthcare to prevent or to detect illness as quickly as possible, because the sooner an illness is detected and treatment is begun the more effective that treatment can be.
The Medicare website lists some of the services and items covered under Part B, including clinical research, ambulance services, second opinions before surgery, certain outpatient prescription drugs, and what Medicare calls Durable Medical Equipment (DME).
DME is medically necessary medical equipment that meets certain criteria:
- Durable Medical Equipment
- Utilized for a medical reason
- Usually isn't useful to someone who isn't sick or injured
- Used in the home
- Has an expected lifetime of at least three years
The Medicare website has a list of equipment commonly covered as DME, including blood sugar monitors, hospital beds, crutches, walkers, and infusion pumps and supplies. If the medical equipment you need isn't included on the list, make sure to talk to a Medicare representative to see if it is covered or not.