Medicare Coverage of Radiation Therapy

What It Is

Radiation therapy

What's Covered

Medicare Part A covers radiation therapy provided to a hospital inpatient.

Medicare Part B covers radiation therapy provided to an outpatient in a hospital outpatient department or in a freestanding clinic or radiation treatment facility.

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 radiation therapy, contact the plan directly.

What Medicare Pays

If radiation therapy is provided to a hospital inpatient, the cost becomes part of the overall hospital bill, which Medicare Part A pays according to a structure that requires patient payment of a deductible, and patient payments of coinsurance amounts for longer stays.

If radiation therapy is provided to an outpatient at a freestanding clinic or radiation treatment facility, Medicare Part B pays 80 percent of the Medicare-approved amount for the treatment.

If radiation therapy is provided at a hospital outpatient department, Medicare Part B pays the full Medicare-approved amount for the treatment, except for a patient co-payment.

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.

Was this medicareinformation helpful?

5 Comments So Far. Add Your Wisdom.

10 months ago

My moyher-in-law had a cancerous polyp removed from her throat and is now told she has to have as many as 35-45 radiation treatments, one each day, 5 days a week for 6 to 7 weeks. She lives in Palmerton,PA where the hospital she can walk to does not offer treatment. Mass transit is not available, nor does she have a driver's license, so, is there any way to procure transport daily to St. Luke's or another hospital in New Philadelphia. Perhaps there are other facility options she was not told about, or a way to do this, even by paying. Any thoughts or ideas would be appreciated. She has Medicare parts a and b and the AARP insurance for the other 20%. Thanks in advance, Sam

over 1 year ago

Will medicare cover radiation treatment after obamacare

over 3 years ago

Hi, You may also find the Medicare Q&A in Ask & Answer helpful as well: If you don't find the info you're looking for, consider adding your question for an expert or other community members' feedback: Thanks!

Anonymous said over 3 years ago

Can you clarify: if a cancer sufferer is an inpatient in Hospital X, which does not have its own radiation equipment, so they transport their patient to a freestanding clinic with which they have a contract to provide this service for their inpatients, will Part A pay? Getting an answer to this is very important to me, as my husband has Part A but does not have Part B, and it will bankrupt me if Part A will not cover this. I was told it depends if the freestanding clinic bills me or the hospital for this service...if they bill me, I have to pay, but if they bill the hospital, then the radiation charges become part of the "inpatient hospital stay" charges, and Part A will pay.

Anonymous said almost 4 years ago

explaining the patient's cost of radiation


Want More Medicare Info?

< Browse Other Medicare Topics