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does medicare cover x rays

Does Medicare Cover X-Rays?

Most people have to get x-rays at some point in their life. They can be used to examine an area of the body to check for broken bones, to monitor how a disease is progressing (i.e., osteoporosis) or see if a treatment is working.

Since x-rays are an important medical test, if the time comes when you need to get one, a common question you may have is, “Does Medicare cover x-Rays?”

In this article, we answer the question in clear, plain English. You will also find the average costs of x-rays and other helpful info.

Does Medicare Cover X-Rays?

The short answer is yes; Medicare will cover the cost of x-rays tests. But not 100% of the time. As is often the case with Medicare, you must meet certain conditions for Medicare to pay for your x-rays tests.

Below we look at what these are so you know what to expect.

Original Medicare Coverage of X-Rays

Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) provides coverage for x-rays. Original Medicare provides coverage for your x-rays if considered necessary.

Your healthcare provider must place an order stating that you need to get an x-ray.

Please note there are some situations where Original Medicare will not cover an x-ray. For example, it will not cover x-rays for routine dental care. Also, if a chiropractor orders you to get x-rays, Medicare will not cover them.

Part A Coverage of SX-Rays

When an x-ray takes place in an inpatient setting, Part A covers your test. Medicare Part A will cover 100 percent of the costs of hospital stays for up to 60 days. 

Starting from the 61st day up to 90 days, Medicare Part A will still provide coverage. Yet, you will pay a copayment each day you are in the hospital. After 90 days, Medicare Part A will no longer provide coverage. 

With that said, Medicare Part A provides 60 lifetime reserve days you can use if you still have them available.

Part B Coverage of X-Rays

Conversely, Part B covers outpatient x-rays tests. Once approved, Medicare Part B covers 80 percent of the costs of x-rays tests. You will pay for the remaining 20 percent. 

Medicare Advantage Coverage of Spinal Fusion Surgery

Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) also provide coverage for x-rays tests. Advantage plans must cover the same tests, treatments and procedures as Original Medicare.

These plans, however, will also cover some benefits that Parts A and B will not cover. However, what it covers and how much the out-of-pocket costs are will vary from plan to plan.

How Much Do X-Ray Tests Cost?

X-ray tests may cost somewhere from $100 to $1,000. The average cost of x-ray tests ranges from $260 to $460. 

How much x-ray tests cost will depend on which body part is being tested. The national average cost for a chest x-ray is $420. 

Meanwhile, the national average cost for an x-ray on the spine is about $320. Dental x-ray tests can cost from $20-250. A foot x-ray costs less than a chest and spine x-ray test, costing only $290.

Another factor that will affect the costs of x-ray tests is the facility where you have the test done.

Note: Medicare coverage changes all the time. And your specific coverage may vary from plan to plan for Medicare Advantage. 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 rabies shots?

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Medicare Plan Tips Team

Annie Kaye is a writer and researcher who was thrown into the Medicare world while taking care of her ailing mother. Even with a degree in Library Science and a long history of fighting for what's right, she felt lost. She learned a lot about Medicare during that time and now writes to help others understand how the system works.