Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Does Medicare Pay For Laser Eye Surgery

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What Can I Expect With Laser Treatment

Medicare – Will it Pay For Cataract Surgery?

Laser therapies can be slightly uncomfortable. People often feel a stinging sensation during the treatment, even though the area has been numbed.

Your treatment may take place in a hospital or in an outpatient setting. Most people are able to go home the same day. Usually, you can get back to your normal activities after a day or so.

Will Medicare Pay For Treatment For A Detached Retina

A detached retina can cause permanent vision loss if not treated quickly. Medicare will cover surgery to repair a detached retina, but youll be responsible for your Part B deductible and 20% coinsurance, which Medigap can help take care of. Depending on where you have your procedure, a copayment might apply as well. Similarly, Medicare Advantage will cover retina surgery to preserve vision, although your out-of-pocket costs will depend on your plan.

Does Medicare Cover Glasses After Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgery is a relatively common and safe procedure. It helps improve the vision of many around the world.

Usually you will see significant improvements in your vision after getting this surgery. However, its also likely you will still require eyeglasses after the procedure.

You may have heard that Medicare generally does not cover the cost of vision care and glasses. And that is true in most cases. But what about after cataract surgery?

That brings us to a common question many people have which is, Does Medicare cover Glasses After Cataract Surgery? In this article, we answer that question in clear, plain English. You will also find the average costs of corrective eyeglasses and other helpful info.

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Medicare Advantage Cataract Help

A Medicare Advantage plan is a private insurance plan that replaces your Medicare Part A and Part B benefits. Some Medicare Advantage plans offer additional routine vision benefits, but at the very least all of these plans must cover services that are equal to Medicare Parts A and B.

Your share of the cost will depend on your plan, but your contribution never exceeds your out-of-pocket maximum . Refer to your annual Summary of Benefits and Coverage to see your plans particulars.

What Doesnt Medicare Cover For Eye Surgeries

Does Medicare cover Cataract surgery?

If your eye doctor recommends an outpatient procedure to correct a vision problem such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, it is not covered by Original MedicareOriginal Medicare is private fee-for-service health insurance for people on Medicare. It has two parts. Part A is hospital coverage. Part B is medical coverage….. As a result, popular LASIK and other corrective eye procedures are not, Surgery, Accessed November 4, 2021

This is because it is medically unnecessary to perform surgery on your eyes for a condition that can be remedied with eyeglasses. If you want the luxury of not having to wear glasses during everyday life, youre going to have to pay for it.

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Is Lasik Covered By Medicare

Unfortunately, Medicare won’t cover the costs of LASIK or any similar laser eye surgery, but some Medicare Advantage plans might.

What is LASIK? If you wear prescription glasses or contact lenses, youve probably considered laser eye surgery as a way to see clearly without specs or contacts. LASIK improves vision for patients with nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism, often providing immediate and long-term improvement with minimal pain or discomfort.

Lets review why LASIK isnt included in your Medicare benefits, how this procedure differs from cataract surgery and the potential costs involved if you elect to have laser eye surgery.

Will Original Medicare Pay For Surgery

Most insurance programs, including Medicare, use the term “medical necessity” to determine coverage. If a medical procedure is required in order to preserve health, it is typically considered a medical necessity and therefore approved for payment.

As an article in Public Administration Review points out, there is no universal list of what might be considered medically necessary. The U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services determines the process by which that determination is made, and what is deemed necessary and what is not can change with time.

That bit of vagueness could help you in some cases. Some medical conditions you encounter are best treated with LASIK surgery. For example, in research published in the Journal of Refractive Surgery, researchers discuss the use of LASIK to help someone who encountered an amputation of a flap created during LASIK. This is a traumatic injury, and it required surgery to preserve the person’s eye. In this case, LASIK was the best way to help that person recover.

In a case like this, LASIK is not used to amend vision to help the person eliminate contacts or glasses. It is a surgery to help preserve someone’s eye health and vision. This is the sort of case that could be considered a medical necessity, and it could, in theory, be covered by Medicare.

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Does Medicare Cover Laser Cataract Surgery

Cataracts are unfortunately a very common part of getting older. In fact, over half of Americans will develop cataracts, or need cataract surgery by the time theyre 80.

When they first form, you probably wont even notice them. However, over time, they will start to affect your vision. It may get to the point where they affect your daily activities. If you dont treat cataracts, they can lead to vision loss. So its better to do something about them sooner rather than later.

The treatment for getting rid of cataracts is surgery. While sometimes a surgeon will use surgical tools for this surgery, using lasers is another option.

So a common question many people have is, Does Medicare cover Laser Cataract Surgery? In this article, we answer this question in clear, plain English. You will also find the average costs of laser cataract surgery, as well as other helpful info.

Finding A Medicare Advantage Plan With Lasik Coverage

Cataract Surgery: Why doesn’t insurance cover Laser Cataract Surgery?

In order to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you must first be enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B.

You then must identify the Medicare Advantage plans that are available where you live, as you may only enroll in a plan that services your area. Medicare Advantage plans are sold by many of the same insurance companies you may already be familiar with, like Humana, Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross and more.

Finally, you must find a Medicare Advantage plan that includes LASIK coverage, as not every plan will provide this benefit. Even if a plan includes vision coverage, it may not necessarily cover a LASIK surgery.

There are only certain times of the year in which you may enroll in a Medicare plan. If you are a Medicare beneficiary wanting LASIK eye surgery, talk to a licensed insurance agent about your Medicare Advantage plan options and when you can enroll. With the right insurance coverage, you can see a brighter future for your eyes.

Christian Worstell Author Bio

Christian Worstell is a Senior Staff Writer for He is passionate about helping people navigate the complexities of Medicare and understand their coverage options.

His work has been featured in outlets such as Vox, MSN and The Washington Post, and he is a frequent contributor to healthcare and finance blogs.

Christian is a graduate of Shippensburg University with a bachelors degree in journalism. He currently lives in Raleigh, NC.

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If You Have A Serious Eye Condition

Of course, if you have serious vision problems that would be best treated by LASIK or other refractive surgery, then your health insurance will pay for LASIK surgery as it would any other medically necessary procedure. Insurers will typically need a comprehensive diagnosis from an ophthalmologist or qualified physician explaining why glasses or contact lenses would not be a suitable alternative.

How Much Does Medicare Cataract Surgery Cost With No Extra Coverage

According to Healthcare Bluebook, a fair price for cataract surgery would cost $4,366.1

Medicare Part B covers 80% of standard surgery once you meet your annual deductible.

For example, say you need cataract surgery on one eye, and it costs $4,366 for the standard procedure. You would need to pay 20% after you meet your deductible. The table below gives a breakdown of the costs:

Cataract Surgery
$233 $1,059.60

The cost of your surgery will depend on several factors including the type of intraocular lens you get, the technology used, and the surgeon who performs it.

If you undergo laser cataract surgery, you will likely need to pay the added costs yourself. This is also the case if you receive a premium toric IOL for astigmatism or a presbyopia-correcting IOL.

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Estimating Your Costs For Medicare Cataract Surgery

The services you need can vary, so the costs will depend on your specific circumstances. But you can get an idea of your estimated cost by following these steps:

  • Find out whether youll be inpatient or outpatient for the surgery. This impacts how you will pay.
  • Verify that the doctor and facility youll use accept Medicare.
  • Ask your healthcare provider what you should expect to pay for the surgery.
  • Find out which prescriptions you may need afterward. If you have Medicare Part D, check your formulary for the cost of these drugs.
  • Verify coverage with any additional insurance providers. For example, you might have benefits with Medicaid or a spouses employer.
  • Check your deductibles or out-of-pocket limits. Youll need to meet the deductible before your coverage begins. If you have an out-of-pocket limit, you wont pay anything past that amount.
  • Understanding What Lasik Is

    What Does Medicare Cover

    For people with nearsightedness, farsightedness or an astigmatism, LASIK eye surgery can restore 20-20 vision with no glasses or contact lenses necessary.

    During a LASIK procedure, the cornea is reshaped with a laser. Farsightedness is corrected by flattening the cornea. Nearsightedness is corrected by steepening the cornea’s curve. And for an astigmatism, the laser is used to smooth any irregularities.

    The procedure generally takes 15 minutes to perform. But while it’s a relatively quick operation, LASIK does come with costs that can be significant for many. And without coverage under Medicare, patients may be responsible for paying these costs out of pocket.

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    Army Navy Air Force Marines And Coast Guard

    Its not unusual for members of the armed forces to receive refractive surgery, though they may have to get in line and wait. Glasses can be a burden and contact lenses are generally prohibited in combat zones, so the government understands the need to improve your eyesight before deployment.

    PRK is more common than LASIK in the military, but both options are available. Each branch has a different policy for enlistees to obtain refractive surgery. An active duty service member can ask for details through their chain of command. However, once you retire from the military, you and your family members are not eligible for LASIK through the VA.

    Eye Care Benefits Most Plans Cover

    UHC plans often offer comprehensive coverage for traditional vision expenses. For example, UHC employer plans offer covered vision benefits, such as:

    • Eye exams.
    • Scratch-resistant coating on eyeglass lenses.
    • Contact lenses.

    With a benefit like this, people could walk into an associated vision provider and go through a comprehensive examination. At the end of this examination, people would understand how well they can see right now and how much lens correction is required in order to deliver crisp vision at all distances.

    In Kansas between 2011 and 2012, people with UHC coverage could obtain an exam, a pair of eyeglass lenses, or a set of contact lenses once every 12 months for a $25 copay. This information comes from a benefits summary created by UHC for the Kansas Board of Regents. A table like this is typically provided to people when they enroll in care. It spells out exactly what is covered and what is not.

    These benefits typically apply only to work done by providers within the UHC network. According to UHC, that network includes both retail and private practice locations, which seems to give members quite a few treatment options to choose from.

    It’s important to note, however, that these covered benefits do not seem to apply to LASIK. In available documents online about coverage UHC offers to people who want LASIK, there are no mentions of covered surgery. The company chooses to deal with this issue in a very different way.

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    What You Need To Know:

    • Cataracts are a cloudy area in the lens of your eyes that cause blurry vision, faded colors, sensitivity to light, and double vision
    • More than half of all Americans age 80 or older have cataracts or have had surgery to rectify the condition
    • Without insurance, cataract surgery typically costs between $3,783 and $6,898
    • Original Medicare doesnt usually include vision coverage, but it does cover cataract surgery
    • To qualify, cataract surgery must be done with traditional surgical techniques or lasers
    • Medicare Advantage plans also cover cataract surgery

    Over 24 million people have cataracts or have had surgery for cataracts, and that number is expected to double by 2050.

    Cataracts, an eye condition that can cause blurry vision and sensitivity to light, typically require surgery. Without insurance, the procedure can be very expensive. Will Medicare pay for that high cost?

    While Medicare doesnt typically cover vision care, such as glasses or contact lenses and eye doctor visits, cataract surgery is the exception. Medicare will pay for cataract surgery if its done using traditional surgical methods or lasers.

    When Does Medicare Pay For Lasik

    â? Does Medicare Cover Cataract Surgery? Should You Wait?

    Some Medicare Advantage plans might not pay for LASIK, as corrective lenses may often be used to achieve similar results in your vision. In this case, Original Medicare and some Medicare Advantage plans will determine that a LASIK surgery is not medically necessary and therefore wont be covered.

    The same is true for many individual and employer-based health insurance plans. The procedure is generally not covered, although some insurance plans may offer a discount or stipend to help with the cost of the surgery.

    Medicare beneficiaries wanting LASIK surgery are not without hope though. As mentioned above, most Medicare Advantage plans cover vision care including exams, eyeglasses and contact lenses. And some plans may provide partial or even full coverage of LASIK eye surgery.

    Medicare Advantage plans are sold by private insurance companies and work much like traditional health insurance with premiums, deductibles, coinsurance and provider networks. And they often come in the same HMO and PPO formats most people may be accustomed to.

    Medicare Advantage plans are required by law to provide all of the same coverage thats found in Original Medicare. On top of those required benefits, Medicare Advantage plans may then offer additional benefits that are not included in Original Medicare.

    Among the more popular extra benefits that many Medicare Advantage plans may cover include:

    • Vision and dental care
    • Home meal delivery
    • Allowances for over-the-counter health items

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    Learn More About Medicare And Cataract Surgery

    A licensed agent with Medicare Plan Finder may be able to find plans in your area that fit your budget and lifestyle needs.

    Are you interested in learning about available plans in your area? Fill out this form or give us a call at 1-855-783-1189 to schedule a no-cost, no obligation appointment with a licensed agent.

    Cataract Surgery: Is It Medically Necessary

    Medicare will only cover your cataract surgery if it is deemed as being medically necessary. In the majority of instances, procedures like cataract surgery will be deemed medically necessary. However, it will be useful to make sure that this is the case before you proceed with the surgery. Otherwise, if you discover that Medicare will not pay for it after the fact, it could put you in a real financial bind.


    Medicare will only cover your cataract surgery if it is deemed as being medically necessary.

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    What Is Eye Surgery

    Eye surgery is a surgical procedure performed on the eye to correct problems with a persons vision or treat an eye disease that is deteriorating vision. These surgical procedures often use special lasers to either alter the structure of the eyes cornea or to open the retina for a surgical lens implant. If an eye doctor finds early symptoms of eye disease during a routine eye exam, they may recommend eye surgery as a preventive treatment method to prevent any serious vision, LASIK eye surgery, Accessed November 4, 2021

    How Much Does Lasik Cost

    Medicare and cataract surgery: Requirements and coverage

    Whether youre insured, underinsured, or totally without coverage, the costs of LASIK surgery will likely end up being paid out-of-pocket .

    In 2020, the average cost for LASIK surgery was around $3,000 per eye. Costs vary greatly, however, and LASIK can run anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000 per eye. Beware of providers offering LASIK surgery for extremely low charges such as $300 often youll be hit with hidden costs later.

    As we said, vision insurance most likely wont cover LASIK surgery. Most plans offer eye exams and glasses at a fixed rate, but no major vision plans have listed fixed rates for refractive LASIK surgery. A few employers may offer some coverage for LASIK if your need is a result of an injury. Ultimately, for the majority of individuals, the final price will depend on your current prescription, as well as your doctor. .

    Some surgeons advertise a flat, fixed price for a single-day LASIK procedure that treats both eyes. Beware. The FDA does not recommend such deals for fear doctors will cut corners, like not providing proper follow-up care. To help avoid receiving such inadequate care, the FDA encourages patients to compare multiple doctors before trying LASIK.

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