Does Medicare cover blood tests?

Looking for answers about whether Medicare covers blood tests? Blood tests are Medicare-approved diagnostic tests, so they will usually be covered. Diagnostic tests such as complete blood count, blood chemistry tests, blood enzyme tests, lipoprotein panels and sexually transmitted disease (STD) tests are considered medically necessary in most cases, so you typically won't have any out-of-pocket expenses for them. Find out more about Medicare and blood tests below.

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D. Gilson is a writer and author of essays, poetry, and scholarship that explore the relationship between popular culture, literature, sexuality, and memoir. His latest book is Jesus Freak, with Will Stockton, part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Series. His other books include I Will Say This Exactly One Time and Crush. His first chapbook, Catch & Release, won the 2012 Robin Becker Prize from Seve...

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UPDATED: Feb 22, 2022

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The Highlights

  • Medicare covers the entire cost of medically necessary blood tests when your doctor orders them
  • Blood tests are considered to be clinical diagnostic laboratory tests, along with other tests such as a urinalysis, fecal occult blood test, and prostate-specific antigen test, among others
  • Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B both cover blood tests. Medicare Advantage plans will also cover medically necessary blood tests

Because blood tests can be so important for giving your doctor a complete view of your health, you might be asking yourself if Medicare covers blood tests. The good news is, in most cases, Medicare does cover blood tests that are ordered by your doctor. Testing is important for a number of reasons, and can provide insight into your overall health.

However, as with most medical insurance inclusions, cost is generally a major concern. Covering the costs of different medical tests and procedures that aren’t covered by Medicare can be difficult unless you have a good health insurance provider.

Before you buy health insurance, make sure you take a look at all the options in your area. Understanding what your health conditions will require in terms of care can lead you to a more affordable plan and health care provider.

We have a free-to-use tool that makes finding affordable health insurance rates in your area easy. All you need to do is enter your ZIP code to get started using our insurance rate comparison tool.

Does Medicare cover lab work and blood tests?

Medicare coverage usually includes the total cost of any blood tests that are ordered by your doctor for diagnostic purposes. If your doctor orders a blood test that is not for a diagnostic purpose which Medicare has ruled to not be medically necessary—and your health insurance won’t cover the cost—then you will have to pay for the blood test out of your own pocket. There are many benefits to knowing beforehand if you have coverage for blood tests, and not having to pay all of the blood test costs is one of them.

It’s a rare occurrence where Medicare won’t cover a visit to the lab for blood work, and you can minimize the likelihood of it happening by talking to your doctor about why the blood test is being ordered. If it’s for preventive care, it should be heavily considered even if it won’t be covered.

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Which parts of Medicare cover blood tests?

Medicare Part A covers the cost of medically necessary blood tests. These blood tests will need to be ordered by a doctor or for an inpatient hospital stay.

Medicare Part B covers the cost of outpatient blood tests that are ordered by a doctor, as long as a medically necessary diagnosis is provided.

What common blood tests does Medicare cover?

Because Medicare will cover the cost of any medically necessary diagnostic tests, there is a wide variety of blood tests that are covered under Medicare. Let’s take a look at some of the blood tests covered by Medicare.

  • Complete blood count: Checks the count of red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and hemoglobin that is present in the blood.
  • Blood chemistry test: Measures the amount of various chemical compounds, such as blood urea nitrogen, creatinine, blood glucose, albumin, CO₂, calcium, sodium, potassium, and chloride. A blood chemistry test is a part of a comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) test.
  • Blood enzyme tests: Measures the presence of various enzymes in the blood, such as liver enzymes and troponin. Troponin is a protein that is only present when there is damage to your heart function.
  • Lipoprotein panel: Checks for a variety of proteins that make up the total amount of cholesterol, triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein, and high-density lipoprotein.
  • Sexually-transmitted disease (STD) tests: Sexually-transmitted diseases and infections can be diagnosed with a blood test.

Medicare covers the cost of these blood tests if your doctor needs them to choose a treatment plan.

The Bottom Line

Medicare covers blood tests because of how much these various tests can tell your doctor about your overall health. It may be necessary for a blood test to be ordered, being an option to discover whether or not a patient has an underlying medical condition that won’t show up otherwise. Most blood tests are diagnostic and will be considered medically necessary in terms of medical services.

There is some blood work that your doctor might order that is not for a Medicare-accepted diagnostic reason. In times like that, Medicare will not cover the cost of your blood test. However, your health insurance provider may still cover the cost of the blood test if there are health benefits or it’s deemed necessary for other reasons. You’ll just want to be conscious of any deductibles that have been set in place. While Medicare may not cover such lab tests, you can still order them, but there may be associated costs.

Because of this, we encourage you to use this free tool that lets you easily compare different health insurance quotes for your area. All you need to do is enter your ZIP code and start comparing the rates to find the most affordable medical care.

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