Does Medicare Cover Imaging Services? Understanding Your Coverage

Written by adminJanuary 12, 2024

Written by adminJanuary 12, 2024

Medicare Coverage for Imaging Services

Medicare, the federal health insurance program for people who are 65 or older, certain younger people with disabilities, and people with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), offers coverage for various types of medical imaging. This coverage is generally provided under two parts of Medicare: Part B and Part C.

Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance)  

Medicare Part B covers outpatient care, and this includes diagnostic imaging services performed on an outpatient basis. Part B coverage is standard for Medicare recipients and typically covers:

– X-rays

– MRIs

– CT scans

– Ultrasounds

– PET scans

– Some types of nuclear medicine tests

Part B coverage of these services usually hinges on the imaging being deemed medically necessary to diagnose or treat a medical condition. For example, if a doctor orders a CT scan to understand the cause of sudden, severe headaches, Medicare Part B would likely cover the scan.

It’s important to note that while Part B covers many imaging services, it does not cover them at 100%. After you pay the Medicare Part B deductible, you are generally responsible for 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for the service, while Medicare pays the remaining 80%.

Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage) 

Medicare Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage, is an alternative way to receive your Medicare benefits through private insurance companies approved by Medicare. These plans include all the benefits of Parts A and B (which is hospital and medical insurance) and often provide additional benefits.

Most Medicare Advantage plans also offer coverage for imaging services, but the specifics can vary significantly from one plan to another. Some of the differences might include:

– Lower or higher co-pays for certain imaging tests compared to Original Medicare

– Different deductible amounts

– Restrictions regarding where you can get your imaging tests (specific network requirements)

– Need for pre-authorization before undergoing certain tests

Because of these variables, it’s essential to review the details of your Medicare Advantage plan or speak directly with your plan provider to understand exactly what is covered and what your out-of-pocket costs might be.

Other Considerations

– Medicare Part D: This part of Medicare covers prescription drugs and does not cover imaging services. However, it’s relevant for treatments where medication is an integral part of the diagnostic process (e.g., some PET scans).

– Medigap: If you have a Medigap (Medicare Supplement Insurance) policy, it may help pay for some of the out-of-pocket costs that come with imaging services covered under Medicare Part B, like copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles.


At Elevated Imaging, we understand that navigating the complexities of Medicare coverage can be challenging. We are committed to helping our patients understand their benefits so they can receive the care they need without undue financial stress. If you have further questions about how your Medicare coverage pertains to imaging services, or if you need assistance scheduling an appointment, please contact us today. We’re here to ensure your experience is as smooth and informed as possible.


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