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Does Medicare Cover Anesthesia?

Medicare covers anesthesia for surgery as well as diagnostic and screening tests when medically necessary. Original Medicare covers general anesthesia, local anesthetics, and sedation, depending on what is required for your scenario. Furthermore, it’s important to understand how your Medicare benefits cover anesthesia to avoid unexpected bills or higher-than-anticipated costs.

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Most anesthesia falls under Medicare Part B, but your coverage can vary depending on the additional plans you may be enrolled in. Learn more about how your benefits cover anesthesia costs and how to find the best benefits for your healthcare needs below.

Is Anesthesia Covered by Medicare?

Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) pays for anesthesia for medically necessary procedures. This includes local or general anesthesia for heart surgery, a colonoscopy, a hip replacement, or a biopsy. But, Medicare won’t cover anesthesia for cosmetic or elective procedures. Your benefits may also cover dental anesthesia, but only under certain situations.

It’s important to remember that even with Original Medicare, there can be out-of-pocket costs left over. Supplemental coverage in the form of Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans can also help cover anesthesia costs. Please note that you can only enroll in either a Medicare Advantage or Medigap plan, not both.

Does Medicare Part A Cover Anesthesia?

Under the right circumstances, Medicare Part A can cover the cost of anesthesia. Medicare Part A coverage for anesthesia occurs when you are an inpatient at a hospital and it’s medically necessary. During this time, your Part A benefits will pay for your hospital stay and the hospital’s anesthesia costs, which can vary depending on several factors, including location, admission status, and if you have supplemental coverage.

Keep in mind, Medicare Part A doesn’t cover the doctors that treat you while you’re in the hospital, which is where your Medicare Part B benefits come in. Part B covers doctors’ services. If you have the procedure outpatient or at a doctor’s office, care falls under Medicare Part B, and your Medicare benefits will pay 100% of the anesthesia cost, such as for a routine screening colonoscopy.

Does Medicare Cover Anesthesia for Colonoscopy?

Medicare pays the full cost of a screening colonoscopy, including anesthesia. Remember, how your benefits pay may vary depending on whether your procedure is inpatient or outpatient and whether or not you have supplemental coverage, such as a Medicare Advantage or Medigap plan.

Does Medicare Cover Anesthesia for Cataract Surgery?

Medicare covers your anesthesia for cataract surgery, both traditional and laser, as Medicare covers anesthesia for surgeries. While Medicare benefits don’t cover routine vision care, Part B does pay for lens replacement surgery for cataracts. Before beginning the procedure, your doctor will numb the eye area with a local anesthetic, which is covered by your benefits.

Does Medicare Advantage Cover Anesthesia for Cataract Surgery?

Medicare Advantage plans cover necessary anesthesia that is also covered by Original Medicare, including anesthetics used for cataract surgery. While Medicare Advantage plans must cover the same things as Original Medicare, Advantage plans set up their costs differently.

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Medicare Advantage plans also operate with provider networks, which means you could get a costly surprise medical bill if your anesthesiologist isn’t in your plan’s network. Therefore, depending on your coverage needs, a Medicare Supplement plan may be a better choice for your healthcare benefits.

Does Medicare Cover Anesthesia for Dental Surgery?

Medicare will cover anesthesia for dental procedures only when the procedure is secondary to another Medicare-covered health issue. While Medicare may cover anesthesia for oral surgery, there is a catch. Medicare coverage for dental care isn’t really available, which means, in most cases, your benefits don’t cover you. However, some exceptions, such as having treatment for jaw cancer or a broken jaw, do exist.

Additionally, if you have a separate dental policy or a Medicare Advantage plan that includes dental, your dental plan may also pay for anesthesia. This is one of the many reasons that we always encourage our clients to speak with a licensed Medicare agent before you make a decision about benefits.

Everyone has unique healthcare needs, and determining these needs with a professional, licensed agent can help you make the best decision for your individual situation. Our agents are ready to help you determine the best plan options, including Medicare Advantage or Medigap plans, for your coverage.

Does Medicare Cover Anesthesia for Epidural Injections?

Unfortunately, Medicare will not cover anesthesia for epidural steroid injections for pain management, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). This is because using an anesthetic for such procedures, including moderate or deep sedation, general anesthesia, and monitored anesthesia care (MAC), is rarely used and generally unnecessary.

Does Medicare Cover Anesthesia for Endoscopy?

Medicare covers anesthesia for endoscopy procedures to help offset discomfort and pain. But like any other medical procedure, your endoscopy and anesthesia must be deemed medically necessary for coverage.

Once it is, Medicare Part B is where you’ll find coverage as an endoscopy is an outpatient procedure. Of course, you’ll have to pay your deductible, and Part B will cover 80% of the costs. For further coverage, you’ll need to enroll in a Medigap or Medicare Advantage plan to avoid any out-of-pocket expenses.

Does Medicare Cover Anesthesia for Pain Management?

You can receive Medicare cover your anesthesia for pain management so long as it meets the following criteria:

  • The anesthesia is connected to a Medicare-approved procedure.
  • Your anesthesia is medically necessary.

In this situation, you’ll receive coverage the same way you would for other procedures, with anesthesia primarily relying on Medicare Part B benefits. But remember, you’ll still have out-of-pocket costs and your deductible to cover. To avoid some if not all these costs, a Medicare Supplement plan can help.

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Medicare Anesthesia Conversion Factor 2023

Medicare reimburses anesthesiologists using a formula that takes several factors into account. Here are some of the key factors in consideration:

  • The base rate is a rate that depends on the type of anesthesiology procedure and the amount of skill and difficulty involved.
  • The amount of time the anesthesiologist spends caring for you.
  • Modifying factors, such as a patient’s health or an emergency.

All these items are added together and multiplied by a conversion factor. The conversion factor depends on the part of the country where the procedure is performed and is intended to compensate for different healthcare costs in different localities.

How Much Does General Anesthesia Cost?

Because anesthesia billing is based on a formula, it’s almost impossible to give a one-size-fits-all cost estimate for general anesthesia. But there are some general guidelines.

Anesthesia for a 30-minute procedure will cost less than a five-hour surgery. It may cost less in a small city than in New York or San Francisco, and anesthesiology for a complicated operation with many potential complications will be more expensive than anesthesia for a routine procedure.

Most of this is beyond your control. But if you have Medicare, your costs will be much lower if you have a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Plan and receive medically necessary anesthesia. For example, suppose the anesthesiologist’s bill is $1000. Medicare will pay 80%, or $800. Your Medigap plan can cover the other $200.


Does Medicare pay for anesthesia for bone marrow biopsy?
Yes, Medicare covers all types of biopsies. Bone marrow biopsies are usually performed in a doctor’s office or clinic using local anesthesia.
Will Medicare cover anesthesia injections in the ankle?
Yes, as long as your procedure is necessary, Medicare Part B will cover the anesthesia. This is a common procedure for beneficiaries having foot surgery, as your doctor may use a regional anesthetic or a nerve block injection.
Does Medicare cover anesthesia for hammertoe?
Yes, podiatry coverage is covered by Medicare Part B, and this includes necessary hammertoe surgery. Surgery may be necessary if a hammertoe is painful, causes balance issues, or affects foot health. During the surgery, your doctor may place you under sedation or a general anesthetic, both of which are covered by Part B. However, Hammertoe surgery for cosmetic reasons isn’t covered.

How To Get Medicare That Covers Anesthesia Costs

Many people are in shock over the bill from the anesthesiologist after surgery. A Medigap plan can cover almost all the costs you’d otherwise get an invoice to pay yourself. But depending on your healthcare needs, a Medicare Advantage plan may offer better supplemental coverage.

No matter what kind of healthcare needs you have, our agents can walk you through the details of the Medicare benefits available and help you identify the best policy for your healthcare and budget.

Healthcare needs vary from person to person and are often complex and finding Medicare that covers anesthesia costs is only part of the puzzle. To find the right plan for all of your healthcare needs, contact us or fill out our form for a free quote.

Kayla Hopkins

Kayla Hopkins

Content Editor
Kayla Hopkins is an accomplished writer and Medicare guru serving as the Editor of MedicareFAQ.com. Upon completing her Communications degree from Ohio University, Kayla dedicated her time to understanding the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare. With her extensive background as a Licensed Medicare Insurance Agent, she brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her writing.
Ashlee Zareczny

Ashlee Zareczny

Compliance Manager
Ashlee Zareczny is the Compliance Manager for MedicareFAQ. As a licensed Medicare agent in all 50 states, she is dedicated to educating those eligible for Medicare by providing the necessary resources and tools. Additionally, Ashlee trains new and tenured Medicare agents on CMS compliance guidelines. Ashlee is a Medicare expert who specializes in Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage, and Medicare Part D education.

16 thoughts on "Does Medicare Cover Anesthesia?"

  1. My Pain mgt Doctor is doing nerve burning procedure on my back he said Medicare and champ Bailey doesn’t cover being put to sleep and I will have to pay out of pocket

    1. Mary, if this procedure is typically not covered by your VA coverage or Medicare, then you would need to pay out of pocket.

  2. hi I need to have a lot of teeth extracted and get dentures. I have a heart condition. HBP and am diabetic. Will my medicare PPO & medicaid plan cover the anesthesia cost.?

    1. Hi Triva! PPO plans are not standardized by the government. Therefore, you would need to reach out to the carrier directly to find out what they will and will not cover. We cannot see this information on our end. You should also have access to your summary of benefits. If it wasn’t mailed to you, it should be available in your online portal with the Medicare Advantage carrier.

  3. My pain doctor’s office called, through an anesthesia contractor, and said that anesthesia for my back injections is no longer covered in 2021 by Medicare and my supplemental plan, and that I will have to pay for it out of pocket. In the past it was covered. I don’t understand. Is this true?

    1. Hi Jerry! Your best option is to do a three-way call between Medicare and your doctor to figure out why the anesthesia is no longer covered.

      1. I go to pain management as well I was told Medicare deemed it was not medically necessary to be put to sleep for many pain management procedures. I was also advised if I paid out of pocket for the anesthesia them Medicare would not cover any part of the procedure. So you can’t win for loosing. I had been having pain management procedures over 24 years with sedation. It’s so painful without it I be so scared I’m gonna jump are move from the pain and end up paralyzed. It’s not fair they stopped us from being sedated. They can stop the groceries, OTC and other stuff they are giving for so call free with advantage plans and let us have our sedation while a big needle is going through our spinal cords!!!!

      2. Hello Erica,

        If Medicare pays for a procedure because it’s medically necessary, then the anesthesia should be covered as well. Even if you have a Medicare Advantage plan, your coverage is required to cover anything Original Medicare would. Be sure to double-check with your healthcare provider and best of luck with your pain management.

  4. My father needs to have PRP/Stem Cell Therapy on his back. The Orthopedic Specialist performing the procedure is out of network while the anesthesiologist is a contracted Medicare provider. Will Medicare cover the anesthesia portion of the office surgery?

    1. Hi Gayle! In theory, yes, Medicare should cover their portion of the cost for the anesthesia. However, I would confirm this with the anesthesiologist. They should know if they will be able to bill Medicare for it.

  5. My brother in law has Downs Syndrome (he is 51) and he must have anesthesia for dental cleaning. He has a medicare supplement (Aetna Medicare Premier (HMO)), medicare part a and b and also medicaid, yet I’m finding it hard to get this approved. Any suggestions? The dentist is approved by his supplement, but the anesthesia takes place at an out of network hospital, but wouldn’t the straight medicare pick up this portion? Thanks for any help you can give me.

    1. Hi Tammy! Medicare Supplements and Medicare Advantage plans are not the same. An Aetna Medicare Premier HMO is a Medicare Advantage plan. If your brother-in-law has a Medicare Advantage plan, he no longer has straight Medicare. If the anesthesia takes place at an out-of-network hospital, unfortunately, he won’t receive coverage for it from his Advantage plan. Original Medicare won’t pick up the costs because you ONLY have coverage from the Advantage plan & Medicaid, not Medicare. You may be able to receive coverage for it if the doctor says it’s medically necessary, however, the issue of the anesthesia being given at an out-of-network hospital is still an issue.


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