Does Medicare cover chemo and radiation?

Medicare does provide coverage for chemo and radiation under Medicare Part A, B, and D. Under Medicare Advantage, you'll have access to more benefits. However, the chemo and radiation cost doesn't decrease. Cancer treatment is at least $1,000/mo, but Medicare can reduce your rates by 20 percent. Find Medicare near you to find reliable coverage for chemo and radiation.

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D. Gilson is a writer and author of essays, poetry, and scholarship that explore the relationship between popular culture, literature, sexuality, and memoir. His latest book is Jesus Freak, with Will Stockton, part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Series. His other books include I Will Say This Exactly One Time and Crush. His first chapbook, Catch & Release, won the 2012 Robin Becker Prize from Seve...

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years

UPDATED: Feb 3, 2021

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The Highlights

  • Chemo and radiation are covered by Medicare.
  • Without Medicare Part D, cancer treatment drugs could cost at least $5,600 per month.
  • Under Medicare Advantage, you’ll pay 20 percent coinsurance until you reach $6,700.

We’re often asked: does Medicare cover chemo and radiation? Under the right Medicare parts, you can receive chemo and radiation treatment.

Most health insurance companies provide coverage for cancer treatment, but Medicare is federally-sponsored health insurance with more gray areas for some individuals.

Our guide answers any questions about how you can receive treatment through Medicare.

If you’re looking for health insurance or Medicare supplement insurance to cover chemo and radiation, enter your ZIP code in the free comparison tool above and find the best health insurance company for you.

Does Medicare cover chemo and radiation?

The short answer is yes. Medicare covers chemo, radiation, and cancer treatment drugs through various Medicare parts.

Medicare cancer benefits range from inpatient hospital care to hospice care. Your Medicare plan even covers a second opinion visit to another healthcare provider.

What is chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy (chemo) is a cancer treatment that uses multiple anti-cancer medications to treat cancer complications and kill cancer cells.

According to the National Cancer Institute, Radiation (or radiotherapy) is another cancer treatment that utilizes high radiation levels to eliminate cancer cells and reduce tumor size.

However, some cancers have developed into tumors, and chemotherapy drugs are used to reduce tumors’ size and minimize pain in the patient’s body.

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How much are chemo and radiation treatments?

According to Asbestos.com and The Mesothelioma Center, the average monthly rate for chemo is $1,000 to $12,000 per month. Radiation therapy costs vary. Let’s look at a list of radiotherapy costs.

Radiotherapy Costs
Types of CancerTotal Cancer Treatment Costs
Breast Cancer$8,600
Lung Cancer$9,000
Prostate Cancer$18,000
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Imagine the cost of chemo and radiation before you reach your deductible. You may end up paying hundreds or thousands of dollars. Fortunately, Medicare provides coverage and various alternatives.

Which Medicare parts cover chemo and radiation?

Medicare Part A, Medicare Part B, Medicare Part D, and Medicare Advantage all provide coverage for chemo, radiation, and cancer treatment drugs. Each part does something different, though. Let’s examine the best medicare plans for cancer patients below.

Medicare Part A: Inpatient Care

Part A takes care of your hospital inpatient cost. However, you must pay a $1,400 deductible before Medicare starts to pay for treatment. Under other health insurance plans, your deductible could be higher or lower.

Medicare Part B: Preventative Care

Your Part B deductible must be paid before Medicare provides 80 percent coverage. When you meet your deductible, you’ll be responsible for 20 percent of chemo and radiation cost.

Medicare Part B focuses on preventative care. This is usually doctor visits and other treatments that don’t require extensive cancer treatment.

Pay close attention to your deductible. The higher the deductible, the more money you’ll have to kick out before Medicare starts providing coverage for preventative care.

Medicare Part D: Cancer Treatment Prescriptions

Although Medicare Part B provides some level of help with cancer prescriptions, Medicare Part D is the winner in providing lower cancer treatment drug costs.

Medicare Part D plans usually have a $5,100 limit. Once you reach that limit for cancer treatment drugs, your Medicare coverage will pay for 95 percent of all cancer medications that follow.

Medicare Advantage: Coinsurance and Deductibles

Under Medicare Advantage, you’ll get the same services as Medicare Part A and B – however, you have access to more benefits. Coinsurance comes into play, too.

Instead of waiting for a deductible, Medicare Advantage will ask for 20 percent from you while paying the other 80 percent. Once you reach the deductible limit, Medicare will begin paying 100 percent of the treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions: Does Medicare cover chemo and radiation?

For the final section, we’ll answer some frequently asked questions about how Medicare covers cancer treatment related to chemo and radiation.

If you want to skip the questions and start looking at other details about health insurance, check out the best insurance companies.

Or you can enter your ZIP code in the free online quote tool below to compare Medicare supplement providers and other health insurance companies that cover chemo and radiation treatments.

#1 – What cancer treatment options are available?

Chemotherapy, radiotherapy, anti-cancer drugs, and nutritionist consultation are available everywhere. Start with your local area and see what programs are around you.

#2 – Does Medicare cover cancer treatment surgery?

Yes. Part of your cancer treatment may involve surgery to remove tumors that are causing your cancer.

#3 – Can Medicare provide coverage for wigs?

Despite Medicare’s extensive coverage for chemo and radiation, they don’t provide coverage for wigs.

#4 – Where can you get cancer treatment?

You can get cancer treatment at your local hospital or a cancer treatment center. Medicare or health insurance providers have several cancer treatment providers in the network.

Contact them right away if you need to find cancer treatment.

#5 – Does Medicare cover immunotherapy?

Yes. Various parts of Medicare cover immunotherapy.

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