Medicare Coverage of a Second Opinion About Surgery

What It Is

Before a recommended surgery, a second opinion from another physician regarding how a health condition should be treated

What's Covered

Medicare Part B covers a second opinion, before a recommended surgery, from a different doctor than the one who recommends surgery. If the first and second opinions are different, Medicare Part B can also cover a third opinion.

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 getting a second opinion about surgery, contact the plan directly.

What Medicare Pays

Medicare Part B covers 80 percent of the Medicare-approved amount for the services of a doctor who provides a second opinion.

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.

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