Medicare Doesn't Cover

Six Surprising Things Medicare Doesn’t Cover: A Beneficiary’s Guide

If you’re a Medicare beneficiary, it’s important to understand what services and items are not covered by the program to avoid unexpected expenses. While Medicare provides coverage for a wide range of medical services, there are exclusions and limitations to be aware of that may impact your healthcare needs.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore six items and services that Medicare doesn’t cover. As an independent insurance agent, Integrity Now Insurance Brokers is committed to helping you make informed decisions about your healthcare needs.

Key Takeaways:

  • Medicare does not cover prescription drugs in full, and there may be limitations and out-of-pocket expenses with coverage.
  • Routine vision, dental, and hearing care are typically not covered by Medicare, leaving coverage gaps for beneficiaries.
  • Long-term care, such as assisted living facilities, is not covered by Medicare.
  • Cosmetic surgery procedures that are purely aesthetic are usually not covered by Medicare.
  • Medicare also does not cover alternative therapies such as acupuncture or experimental treatments that are still being tested.

Prescription Drugs

If you are a Medicare beneficiary, you may be aware that Medicare Part D offers prescription drug coverage. However, it’s crucial to understand that there are some limitations and cost-sharing aspects to consider when it comes to your medication needs.

Medicare Limitations

Medicare sets specific limitations on coverage for prescription drugs. For example, there are restrictions on the amount of medication you can receive at one time, known as “quantity limits,” and on the types of medications that are covered, known as “formulary restrictions.” In some cases, your doctor may need to provide additional information for certain medications to be covered.

Medicare Out-of-Pocket Expenses

Medicare Part D also involves some out-of-pocket expenses, including deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance. These expenses can vary depending on your particular plan and the medication you need.

Medicare Cost Sharing

In some cases, Medicare requires you to share the cost of your medications with your insurance provider. This means that you will be responsible for paying a portion of the medication cost, while your insurance provider covers the rest.

It’s essential to be aware of these limitations and costs when choosing a Medicare Part D plan to ensure that your medication needs are covered while also remaining within your budget. Integrity Now Insurance Brokers, as an independent insurance agent, can help you navigate the complexities of Medicare drug coverage and find the right plan for your unique needs.

You can save on many prescription medications by asking for generic versions of the drugs you need. Generics are often less expensive but have the same active ingredient as the brand-name versions of the medication.

Medicare Prescription Drugs

Medicare Cost-Sharing for Prescription Drugs

Cost-Sharing Expense 2021 Coverage Details
Deductible Up to $445 per year
Copayments/Coinsurance Varies depending on medication and plan
Gap Coverage Covers 75% of generic drugs; 25% for brand-name drugs until out-of-pocket costs reach $6,550
Catastrophic Coverage Covers 95% of drug costs after reaching $6,550 out-of-pocket limit

Vision, Dental, and Hearing Care

Medicare does not cover routine vision, dental, and hearing care. This exclusion means that you may have to pay out of pocket for check-ups, cleanings, screenings, and other services. These essential healthcare services are known as Medicare non-covered services, and they can create insurance coverage gaps that may impact your health and budget.

The following table outlines some of the services that are not covered by Medicare:

Service Medicare Coverage
Eye Exams No Coverage
Dental Exams No Coverage
Hearing Aids Limited Coverage

Integrity Now Insurance Brokers, as an independent insurance agent, can help you explore alternative insurance options to address these gaps in coverage. Dental, vision, and hearing insurance plans are available to help you get the care you need without worrying about high out-of-pocket expenses.

Medicare exclusions

Long-Term Care

Medicare is designed to cover medical services deemed necessary and reasonable to diagnose and treat illnesses and injuries. However, Medicare does not cover long-term care, such as extended stays in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. This exclusion can come as a surprise to many beneficiaries, and it’s important to understand the limitations and alternatives to plan for future care needs.

If you require long-term care, there are still options available, such as:

  • Medicaid: This is a joint federal and state program that provides coverage for low-income individuals and families.
  • Long-term care insurance: This type of insurance can help cover the costs of long-term care services, including nursing home care, in-home care, and assisted living facilities.
  • Personal savings: Setting aside funds specifically for potential long-term care needs can help mitigate the financial burden of these services.

It’s essential to plan for the possibility of long-term care needs and research your options. Integrity Now Insurance Brokers is an independent insurance agent that specializes in Medicare and can provide guidance on alternative coverage options.

Medicare Doesn't Cover

According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), “Medicare only covers care in a long-term care hospital (LTCH) if you’re described as having a complex medical condition.”

Cosmetic Surgery

Medicare typically does not cover cosmetic surgery procedures that serve purely aesthetic purposes. This means that elective procedures such as facelifts, breast augmentation, and weight loss surgery are considered Medicare non-covered services.

However, there are certain exceptions to this rule; procedures that are necessary for reconstructive or medically necessary purposes may be covered. For example, breast reconstruction surgery following a mastectomy, or a nose job to correct a breathing problem could be eligible for coverage. It is important to note that these exceptions often require documentation and approval from Medicare.

If you are considering cosmetic surgery, you should be aware that it is typically an out-of-pocket expense. Understanding what Medicare excludes can help you prepare for these costs and explore alternative insurance coverage options that may be available.

Medicare non-covered services

Popular Alternative Therapies Not Covered by Medicare

Treatment Type Explanation
Acupuncture Traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves thin needles penetrating the skin at specific points.
Massage therapy Manipulation of soft tissues to reduce muscle tension, pain, and stress.
Hypnotherapy Therapy using hypnosis for relaxation, mental health, and addiction cessation.
Chiropractic care Spinal adjustment or manipulation to alleviate back pain or joint issues.

It’s essential to remember that while Medicare may not cover various alternative healthcare treatments, there are still viable options available to those seeking these services. Consult with an independent insurance agent to see what alternative healthcare coverage may apply to your situation.

Out-of-Country Care

While Medicare provides excellent health coverage within the United States, it typically does not cover healthcare received outside of the country. If you are traveling abroad, you will need additional travel medical insurance coverage to ensure you’re protected while abroad.

There are certain limited circumstances in which Medicare may provide coverage when you are overseas, such as in emergencies, in cases where you’re on a cruise, or if you happen to be just across the border in Mexico or Canada. However, these and other circumstances can be complicated, so it’s essential to speak to an expert insurance broker to understand your options.

At Integrity Now Insurance Brokers, we can help you navigate the complexities of Medicare non-covered services. One of our expert brokers can help you find a travel insurance policy comprehensive enough to ensure you’re protected wherever you go. Don’t risk unexpected medical expenses: contact us today to explore your options for obtaining affordable and comprehensive travel medical insurance.

Medicare Doesn't Cover Out-of-Country Care


As a Medicare beneficiary, it’s crucial to understand what services and items are not covered to avoid unexpected expenses. Medicare doesn’t cover various essential healthcare needs, including long-term care, cosmetic surgery, and alternative therapies.

Other exclusions include out-of-country care and experimental treatments. Knowing what Medicare doesn’t cover allows you to make informed decisions about your healthcare needs and explore alternative coverage options.

At Integrity Now Insurance Brokers, we are an independent insurance agent dedicated to helping you navigate the complex world of Medicare coverage. Contact us today to learn more about Medicare non-covered services and exclusions and explore your coverage options.


What are some surprising things that Medicare doesn’t cover?

Medicare has certain exclusions when it comes to coverage. Here are six unexpected items and services that Medicare typically doesn’t cover:

Does Medicare cover all prescription drugs?

Medicare Part D provides coverage for prescription drugs, but there are limitations and cost-sharing aspects. Not all medications are covered, and you may have to pay out-of-pocket expenses. It’s essential to understand these limitations and explore ways to navigate prescription drug costs.

Does Medicare cover routine vision, dental, and hearing care?

No, Medicare generally excludes coverage for routine vision, dental, and hearing care. These essential healthcare needs often require additional insurance coverage or out-of-pocket payments. It’s crucial to understand what specific services are not covered and explore alternative insurance options.

Does Medicare cover long-term care?

Medicare does not cover long-term care, such as extended stays in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Planning for future care needs and exploring other options, such as long-term care insurance, is crucial to ensure adequate coverage.

Does Medicare cover cosmetic surgery?

Medicare typically does not cover cosmetic surgery procedures that are solely for aesthetic purposes. However, there may be exceptions for reconstructive or medically necessary procedures. It’s important to understand the circumstances under which coverage may be considered.

Does Medicare cover acupuncture and alternative therapies?

Medicare generally does not cover acupuncture and other alternative therapies. If you’re seeking these types of treatments, you’ll need to explore other options, such as private insurance or out-of-pocket payment.

Does Medicare provide coverage for healthcare received outside of the United States?

Medicare typically does not cover healthcare received outside of the United States. However, there are limited circumstances in which Medicare may provide coverage abroad, such as emergencies or specific situations. It’s advisable to obtain additional travel medical insurance when traveling internationally.

Does Medicare cover experimental or investigational treatments?

Medicare may not cover experimental or investigational treatments that have not yet been proven effective or approved by the appropriate regulatory authorities. It’s important to understand the limitations in these cases and explore potential alternative options for treatment.

Why is it important to understand what Medicare doesn’t cover?

Understanding what Medicare doesn’t cover is vital to avoid unexpected expenses. By knowing these exclusions, beneficiaries can make informed decisions about their healthcare and explore alternative coverage options that may be available to them.