What isn’t covered by Medicare?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

Medicare covers a lot of services, but it does not cover everything. Services and drugs and devices deemed not essential, or that haven’t been proven to work, or are judged too expensive compared to effective alternatives (especially in medications) are not covered by Medicare. What services are covered depends on what type of plan you have. For example, the Medicare Advantage plans cover more benefits (some even cover lifestyle costs such as a health club membership) than Part A (hospital insurance) or B (Medicare insurance). However, in general, Medicare won’t cover your insurance deductibles, copayments, coinsurance, or the amount you pay after meeting your deductible (luckily, if you qualify, Medicaid can help with this). Medicare also won’t cover acupuncture, cosmetic surgery, dental care and dentures, and routine eye care and glasses. Flu shots are sometimes not covered by Medicare.


Here are some other services not covered by Medicare.

- custodial care (someone helping you bathe and dress)

- hearing aids

- routine physical exams

- orthopedic shoes

- outpatient prescription drugs

- some vaccinations

- screening tests


For a complete list of services not covered by Medicare, check your Medicare handbook or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.