Medicare Part B covers:

  • Doctor visits
  • Durable medical equipment
  • Speech therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Other outpatient services

Medicare Part A and Part B are often collectively referred to as “Original Medicare” and are managed by the federal government. Individuals who receive Social Security benefits are automatically enrolled in Original Medicare as they approach their 65th birthday.


Premium Part B has a monthly premium that is based on when you enroll and your annual household income. This premium is commonly paid through Social Security withholdings. It is separate from the premiums you will pay if you choose Medigap, Medicare Advantage (Part C) or Prescription Drug Coverage (Part D).
Deductible You must first meet a deductible before Part B helps with your medical costs.
Copays A copay or cost sharing may apply to specific services, such as those received in an outpatient hospital setting.
Coinsurance You pay 20 percent for some medical services, such as doctor services, outpatient therapy and durable medical equipment.
Preventive Care No deductibles, copays or coinsurance are required for Medicare-covered preventive care services, such as annual wellness visits and mammograms for women.


Under Medicare Part B, there are annual limits on services for physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech language pathology.

Things to Consider

  • Part B coverage can be used anywhere in the United States if you have Original Medicare and the physician accepts Medicare.
  • You can select any doctor in the United States who accepts Medicare patients.
  • Part B premiums and standard deductibles and cost sharing amounts generally change annually on January 1st.


Learn more about Medicare Part B enrollment.

Initial Enrollment Period

The Initial Enrollment Period is a limited window of time when you can enroll in Original Medicare (Part A and/or Part B). After you are enrolled in Medicare you can, if interested, select other coverage options from approved private insurers.

When to Enroll    How to Enroll

Late Enrollment and Changes to Medicare Coverage

Your Initial Enrollment Period provides a limited time window to enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B (Original Medicare). If you miss your enrollment period you can still enroll later, but you must manually apply for Medicare A and B.

Learn More

Choosing Other Medicare Coverage

After you enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B, you can choose a Medicare coverage option (such as a Medicare Advantage plan). You can update your coverage later, during the annual Open Enrollment Period. However, if you elect to receive Prescription Drug Coverage (Medicare D) coverage after your Initial Enrollment Period, a late enrollment penalty may be added to your premium.

Learn More

Medicare overview information on this website was developed by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association to help consumers understand certain aspects about Medicare. Viewing this Medicare overview does not require you to enroll in any Blue Cross Blue Shield plans. To find out about premiums and terms for these and other insurance options, how to apply for coverage, and for much more information, contact your local Blue Cross Blue Shield company. Each Blue Cross Blue Shield company is responsible for the information that it provides. For more information about Medicare including a complete listing of plans available in your service area, please contact the Medicare program at 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048) or visit

Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed this information.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is an association of 36 independent, locally operated Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield companies.