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does Medicare cover laser cataract surgery

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 they’re 80.

When they first form, you probably won’t 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 don’t treat cataracts, they can lead to vision loss. So it’s 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.

Does Medicare Cover Laser Cataract Surgery?

The short answer is yes; Medicare will cover the cost of laser cataract surgery. But not 100% of the time. As is often the case with Medicare, certain conditions have to be met in order for Medicare to pay for your laser cataract surgery. Below we look at what these are so you know what to expect.

Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) provides coverage for laser cataract surgery costs. Medicare covers traditional cataract surgeries as well as cataract surgeries that require the use of computer-controlled lasers. Coverage for cataract surgery also includes an intraocular lens implant and the first pair of glasses after the surgery.

Most of the time, a person does not stay at hospitals after cataract surgery. However there are cases where a person may have to remain at the hospital, possibly due to complications. In cases like those, Medicare Part A will provide coverage for the costs of the hospital stay.

Because they are considered medically necessary, Medicare Part B provides coverage for cataract removal surgeries. Medicare Part B also covers some post-surgical necessities such as an intraocular lens implant (also known as IOL) and a pair of eyeglasses. However, Medicare may not cover all types of IOL such as multifocal and toric lenses.

Medicare Part B covers 80% of the costs of cataract surgery.

Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) also provide coverage for laser cataract surgery. They cover everything Original Medicare covers plus some additional benefits. However, out-of-pocket costs will vary depending on the specifics of your plan.

How Much Does Laser Cataract Surgery Cost?

Laser-assisted cataract surgery usually ranges somewhere between $4,000 to $6,000 per eye.

Symptoms Of Cataracts

A cataract is a progressive disease. At its early stages, it is difficult to know whether you have a cataract or not. As time passes by and your cataract is left untreated, you may experience symptoms. Some of these symptoms may include:

  • Having blurred or cloudy vision
  • Double vision
  • Having difficulty seeing during night time
  • Seeing a halo around lights when gazing at them
  • Having difficulty differentiating colors
  • Needing more light to read

If left untreated, a cataract may lead to vision loss.

Note: Medicare coverage changes all the time. And your specific coverage may vary from plan to plan for Medicare Advantage and Medigap plans. Always be sure to double check with your health care provider and/or Medicare insurance provider about what your plan covers and what it does not.

Additional Info on Medicare Coverage

This article is part of our series on “What does Medicare cover?”

Also, you can check out other articles in this series including: Does Medicare cover respite care?

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