Do Eye Exams Get Paid For By Medicare?

Dec 02, 2023 By Susan Kelly

does medicare cover eye exams Those 65 or older, and some younger people with disabilities, particularly patients with End-Stage Renal Disease, are all eligible for Medicare, a government health insurance program (ESRD). Hospitalization, doctor's visits, prescription medications, and diagnostic procedures are all included. There is a lot of confusion among Medicare recipients about whether or not they will be able to pay for annual eye exams. Examining a patient's eyes is an important part of medical care since issues with sight or eye disease can be caught and treated early. Medicare does cover eye tests that are medically essential for detecting and treating eye disorders or conditions, but they do not cover routine vision screenings or glasses or contact lenses. Exams to monitor and prevent the progression of diseases like diabetes, glaucoma, as well as age-related macular degeneration are covered by Medicare.

Medicare recipients with certain medical conditions or risk factors may be eligible for more frequent coverage and examinations than others. Beneficiaries at increased risk of glaucoma, such as individuals with a family history of the condition, are eligible for an annual glaucoma test, and people with diabetes are entitled to an annual dilated eye exam. Recipients diagnosed with age-related retinitis pigmentosa are entitled to a diagnostic exam once per year. Only doctors of ophthalmology and optometry who accept Government assignments may administer eye exams. If the provider accepts Medicare assignment, the beneficiary is liable for paying the Part B deductible as well as 20% of the exam's cost. If a doctor or hospital does not take an assignment from Medicare, they can charge up to 15% higher than the Medicare-approved price.

Check Out How Medicare Pays For Eye Exams

Eye exams are one of the many services covered by Medicare Part B, which is intended for non-hospital care. Medicare often covers exams of the eyes to identify and treat eye disorders or conditions. Those with diabetes, glaucoma or age-related macular degeneration are eligible for free annual eye tests under Medicare. In these circumstances, getting an eye exam is essential for keeping an eye on any vision loss and stopping it.

What People Should Know About Insurance Coverage For Eye Exams

Medicare will only pay for an eye exam if it is administered by a qualified doctor (like an ophthalmologist or optometrist). To receive Medicare coverage for an annual physical, the patient must pay the Part B deductible and a 20% co-insurance fee from the provider. If a doctor or hospital does not take an assignment from Medicare, they can charge up to 15% more than the Medicare-approved price.

Eye Test Frequency

Medicare will pay for eye exams at various intervals, some more frequently than others, based on the patient's specific health needs and risk factors. Beneficiaries with diabetes, for instance, are entitled to an annual dilated eye check. Diabetic retinopathy, a leading cause of blindness in the diabetic population, may only be detected by a thorough eye exam. Glaucoma screenings should be performed annually on people at high risk for the condition due to factors including a family history of glaucoma. Recipients diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration are entitled to a yearly diagnostic exam.

Vision And Glasses

Medicare does not cover regular eye exams, glasses, and contacts. Medicare will only pay for one pair of regular eyeglasses or one set of contact lenses after cataract surgery. The costs of corrective lenses, such as glasses or contacts, are not covered by Medicare.

Medicare Advantage Plans Coverage

Private insurance businesses provide Medicare Part C, generally known as Medicare Advantage plans. These plans offer an alternative to traditional Medicare and may include benefits that aren't included in traditional Medicare, like annual eye exams and corrective lenses. Details of any comprehensive protection for eye exams provided by Medicare Advantage plans vary widely from plan to plan. You should consult your Medicare Advantage plan's documentation or contact your provider if you have questions about your coverage.


In conclusion, Medicare covers medically necessary eye exams for beneficiaries with certain illnesses like diabetes and glaucoma, especially age-related macular degeneration. The covering frequency will change depending on the severity of the illness or the associated dangers. Yet Medicare does not pay for basic eye exams, glasses, or contacts unless cataract surgery is included. To minimize unanticipated costs, beneficiaries should verify their coverage with their providers or the plan documentation. Medicare covers eye exams for beneficiaries if deemed medically necessary, ensuring those who need them can get them to preserve good eye health and discover any vision problems early.

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