If you're 65 or older, then Medicare is there to help you get the healthcare coverage you need. For hospital and inpatient care, Medicare Part A is the choice that tens of millions of people turn to. But for covering routine doctor visits and other outpatient care, Medicare Part B is the traditional option for many participants in the program.

Medicare participants can expect many different changes to the program in 2023. Here are the ones that will affect Part B the most, with a short overview to introduce you to the program first.

What Medicare Part B gives you

For the most part, if you need medical treatment that doesn't require staying at a hospital or other treatment facility, Part B is what covers you. Anything from a regular medical checkup to outpatient surgical procedures can qualify for Part B coverage. Moreover, if you need medical equipment, ambulance transportation, diagnostic testing, or treatment for mental health issues, Part B provides the coverage there, as well as for a wide range of other healthcare issues.

Person holding a stethoscope in a hallway.

Image source: Getty Images.

Medically necessary conditions are generally covered under Medicare Part B, with the goal of providing the resources necessary to detect, diagnose, and treat an illness, injury, or other medical condition. You can also get some preventive care services under Part B, such as an initial wellness intake appointment when you turn 65 as well as checkups every year thereafter to ensure your continued health.

However, Medicare Part B doesn't cover everything. If you need dental care, eye exams for glasses or contact lenses, or hearing aids, you typically can't count on Part B to cover you. Some more experimental or less medically accepted treatment options also don't qualify under Medicare Part B.

Why Medicare Part B costs are falling in 2023

Part B requires monthly premium payments. Most people will pay $164.90 per month for full Part B coverage, which is down from $170.10 per month in 2022.

The decrease stems from the partial reversal of a big increase last year. That came as Medicare initially expected that the new Aduhelm treatment for Alzheimer's disease would be extremely expensive but also qualify for general coverage under the program. In the end, Medicare chose instead to offer more limited coverage, and that prompted the drop in premiums for 2023.

There's new coverage under Medicare Part B available this year for those who are 36 months or more past having received a kidney transplant. These patients don't qualify for full Part B coverage, but they can elect to get partial coverage of immunosuppressive drugs for a lower amount of $97.10 per month.

Some people with higher incomes, however, pay additional amounts for their Medicare Part B coverage. As you can see below, those in certain income levels have to pay as much as $560.50 per month in premiums. Note that the income levels date back two years, so that it's your 2021 modified adjusted gross income that determines what you pay in 2023.

For individuals with this income in 2021:

Or joint filers with this income in 2021:

Total monthly premium in 2023 for Full Part B will be:

Total monthly premium in 2023 for Partial Part B will be:

$97,000 to $123,000

$194,000 to $246,000

$230.80 (down $7.30)


$123,000 to $153,000

$246,000 to $306,000

$329.70 (down $10.50)


$153,000 to $183,000

$306,000 to $366,000

$428.60 (down $13.70)


$183,000 to $500,000

$366,000 to $750,000

$527.50 (down $16.80)


Over $500,000

Over $750,000

$560.50 (down $17.80)


Data source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Note: Married persons filing separately who lived together at any time during the year pay $527.50 for full coverage or $453.10 for partial coverage if their income is $97,000 to $403,000, or $560.50 for full coverage or $485.50 for partial coverage if their income is more than $403,000.

In addition, Medicare Part B participants have two other costs to cover. They must pay a deductible of $226 in 2023 before coverage kicks in, which is $7 lower than it was in 2022. More importantly, Medicare typically covers only 80% of costs for most items, leaving you to pay the remaining 20%.

Keep healthy with Medicare Part B

Planning for retirement requires being smart about your healthcare coverage. Using Medicare Part B to its fullest will play a vital role in ensuring that you'll be able to stay healthy without breaking the bank.