Part B of the Medicare program is optional; recipients of Part A can elect to pay the monthly premium to receive the wide range of benefits Part B offers. Under Original Medicare, if the Part B deductible is applicable in your situation, you will be required to pay all costs (up to the Medicare-approved amount) until you reach the annual Part B deductible before Medicare begins to pay its share. After the deductible is met, you will typically have to pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount of the service, if the doctor or other health care provider accepts assignment. It is important to note that you will pay nothing for most covered preventive services if you get the services from a doctor who accepts assignment.
Whilst some may decide to opt out of Part B of Medicare, it is important to consider the wide range of benefits it can provide:
- Alcohol misuse counselling.
- Breast cancer screening: Medicare will cover screening mammograms to check for breast cancer once yearly for all women who are 40 and older. Medicare also covers one mammogram for women between the ages of 35–39.
- Chemotherapy in a doctor’s office, separate clinic, or as a hospital outpatient for people who are diagnosed with cancer.
- Depression screening
- Diabetes screenings: Medicare covers these screenings if your doctor decides diabetes is a possibility.
- Flu immunisations
- Hearing and balance exams: Original Medicare will not cover hearing aids or exams for fitting hearing aids.
- Obesity screening and behavioural therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Outpatient medical and surgical services
- Physical therapy
- Prostate cancer screening.
- Sexually transmitted infection (STI) screening and counselling
- Smoking and tobacco-use: Counselling to stop smoking or using tobacco products
- Speech-language pathology services
- Surgical dressing services
- Certain tests: X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, EKG/ECGs, and some other diagnostic tests.