• Part B medical insurance is intended to cover basic medical services provided by doctors, clinics, and laboratories. However, the lists of services specifically covered and not covered are long, and do not always make a lot of sense.

    Making the effort to learn what is and is not covered can be important, because you may get the most benefits by fitting your medical treatments into the covered categories whenever possible.

    Part B insurance pays for:

    doctor services (including surgery) provided at a hospital, a doctor’s office, or your home

    mammograms, pelvic exams, bone density tests, and PAP smears for women

    an annual flu shot

    a one-time physical exam (called a “wellness exam”) done within six months of when you enroll in Medicare Part B

    medical services provided by nurses, surgical assistants, or laboratory or X-ray technicians

    outpatient hospital treatment, such as emergency room or clinic charges, X-rays, injections, and lab work

    an ambulance, if required for a trip to or from a hospital or skilled nursing facility

    drugs or other medicine administered to you at a hospital or doctor’s office (for prescription drug benefits, consider enrolling in Medicare Part D, discussed below)

    medical equipment and supplies, such as splints, casts, prosthetic devices, body braces, heart pacemakers, corrective lenses after a cataractoperation, glucose monitoring equipment, and therapeutic shoes for diabetics, and equipment such as ventilators, wheelchairs, and hospital beds

    some kinds of oral surgery

    some of the cost of outpatient physical and speech therapy

    a limited number of services by podiatrists and optometrists

    some care and counseling by psychologists, social workers, and daycare personnel

    some preventative screening exams, such as for cancer, glaucoma, and osteoporosis; as well as diabetes and heart disease, but only if your doctor says you’re at risk for them

    manual manipulation of out-of-place vertebrae by a chiropractor

    Alzheimer’s-related treatments

    scientifically proven obesity therapies and treatments, and

    part-time skilled nursing care, physical therapy, and speech therapy provided in your home.