Medicare Coverage of Exercise Instruction and Assistance

What It Is

Assistance with or instruction in physical exercise, either in a class setting or from an exercise therapist or trainer

What's Covered

Medicare doesn't cover the services of an exercise therapist or trainer, or physical exercise classes.

Note: Medicare Part B covers a limited amount of physical therapy and occupational therapy, which can include some exercise instruction, if the therapy has been prescribed by a physician.

If you have a Medicare Part C Medicare Advantage plan: Medicare Part C Medicare Advantage plans, also called Medicare Advantage plans, must cover everything that's included in original Medicare Part A and Part B coverage. But sometimes a Part C plan covers more, with extra services or an expanded amount of coverage. (Co-payments for Part C plans may also be different than those for Part A or Part B.) To find out whether your plan provides extra coverage or requires different co-payments for instruction in or assistance with physical exercise, contact the plan directly.

What Medicare Pays

Medicare pays nothing for the services of an exercise therapist, trainer, or class.

Important: Regardless of the rules regarding any particular type of care, in order for Medicare Part A, Medicare Part B, or a Medicare Part C plan to provide coverage, the care must meet two basic requirements:

  • The care must be "medically necessary." This means that it must be ordered or prescribed by a licensed physician or other authorized medical provider, and that Medicare (or a Medicare Part C plan) agrees that the care is necessary and proper. For help getting your care covered, see FAQ: How Can I Increase the Odds That Medicare Will Cover My Medical Service?

  • The care must be performed or delivered by a healthcare provider who participates in Medicare.