After you reach your deductible amount, Original Medicare pays 80% of medically necessary surgeries and you are responsible for 20% of the costs.
Medicare Part A covers inpatient surgeries.
Medicare Part B covers outpatient operations.
Medicare Advantage plans can provide additional coverage. Most plans provide Part D along with vision, hearing and dental.
Original Medicare offers basic hospital and medical coverage. It also covers medically necessary surgeries. If you’re scheduling inpatient surgery, Medicare Part A benefits apply. And for outpatient operations, Medicare Part B has you covered.
But Medicare doesn’t cover all surgeries, and your benefits may not cover all your expenses. If you have questions about Medicare, we have all the answers.
Traditional or Original Medicare covers medically necessary surgeries, including any operations that will save your life. Your Original Medicare coverage also pays for surgeries that improve your health and quality of life.
Medicare covers emergency surgeries. For example, if you need immediate surgery for a life-threatening condition. Emergency operations might include heart surgery or an operation after a serious injury.
Medically necessary surgeries aren’t always emergencies. Original Medicare coverage includes operations you can schedule ahead of time. For example, joint replacement surgery or tumor removal are medically necessary operations that qualify for coverage.
If your doctor orders a medically necessary surgery, Medicare will help you pay the bill. Your Part A benefits cover inpatient surgery, and your Part B coverage pays for outpatient surgery. Part B also covers doctor services, lab tests, and other services you need while you’re in the hospital.
Does Medicare require preauthorization for operations?
For most surgeries, Original Medicare does not require preauthorization. Some outpatient surgeries may require preauthorization to confirm they’re medically necessary.  If your doctor recommends a medically necessary surgery, you’ll get coverage.
Some Medicare Advantage plans may ask for pre-authorization before scheduling surgeries. First, find out if your Advantage plan requires additional authorization. Then ask your doctor to get approval before going ahead with the surgery.
Does Medicare cover oral surgery?
Medicare Part B will cover some types of oral surgery.  For example, if you need jaw surgery or facial surgery, Part B can cover the operation. Surgeries related to bones, blood vessels, or the tongue are generally covered.
But if the surgery only involves the gums or teeth, you won’t get Part B coverage. Oral surgery on teeth and gums is classified as dental surgery, and it’s not covered under Original Medicare. You may get additional coverage for oral surgery if you have a Medicare Advantage plan.
Medicare Part A provides hospital insurance, including inpatient surgery. If you stay overnight in the hospital before or after your surgery, Part A covers your operation. Part A covers both emergency and non-emergency surgeries.
What about Part A deductibles and coinsurance?
Remember that before your Part A coverage kicks in, you’ll need to meet your yearly deductible. Once you reach your deductible limit, you’re eligible for inpatient coverage.
If you’re in the hospital between 1 to 60 days, you pay $0 coinsurance. If you’re in the hospital for over 60 days, you’ll start paying a daily coinsurance amount.
Does Medicare Part A cover outpatient surgery?
Medicare Part A does not cover outpatient surgery. Part A only covers inpatient operations. Medicare costs and coverage are different for inpatient versus outpatient care. So, before your operation, make sure you know what’s covered.
Medicare Part B covers medical expenses. It also covers medically necessary outpatient surgery. Typically, outpatient surgeries are short operations, and you won’t need to stay overnight in the hospital. Some common outpatient surgeries include biopsies, cataract surgery, or a gastric bypass. Even if you do end up staying in the hospital overnight, Part B still covers this operation.
Part B deductibles
Regardless of the kind of surgery you need, your yearly Part B deductible still applies. You must reach your deductible limit before Part B covers a portion of the cost of your operation. After you pay your yearly deductible, coinsurance or copayments will apply.
Medicare Part B pays for 80% of outpatient surgery. After you reach your Medicare deductible for the year, Part B covers 80% of all approved costs. This leaves you to pay the remaining 20% out-of-pocket.
Keep in mind that there’s no limit on out-of-pocket Part B spending. You will continue paying a 20% coinsurance for your operation, and throughout the year. The cost of outpatient surgery can add up quickly, even if you have Part B coverage.
Are you considering surgery? There are some operations that Medicare doesn’t cover. Original Medicare does not cover elective operations. If you choose to have elective surgery, it’s not considered medically necessary because it won’t save your life or improve your health. For example, Medicare does not cover cosmetic surgeries, mole removal or Botox.
Medicare Advantage plans offer the same hospital and medical coverage as Original Medicare. If Original Medicare covers an operation, your Advantage plan will too. But there’s a big difference. Medicare Advantage plans have an annual out-of-pocket limit on healthcare spending. This can cut back on your costs for operations and surgeries and make the surgeries you need more affordable in the long run.
Some Advantage plans may have more comprehensive coverage than Original Medicare. Some added benefits can include:
- Lower deductibles.
- Additional coverage for hospital care and rehabilitation services.
- Homecare services and more support while you recover from surgery.
- Home-delivered meals so you don’t have to think about cooking while you get back on your feet.