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Does Medicare Cover Stem Cell Therapy?

Having stem cell therapy covered by Medicare is possible, but there are several stipulations and factors that go into using your benefits. This applies to the federal government program known as Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) and benefits from private insurance carriers such as Medicare Supplement (Medigap) or Medicare Advantage plans.

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There are many reasons for patients to require stem cell therapy and different methods involved with the procedure. Furthermore, it’s essential to understand which healthcare providers offering stem cell therapy accept Medicare benefits. Learn more about how to cut your costs and receive the benefits that fit your individual needs by having Medicare pay for stem cell therapy.

Is Stem Cell Therapy Covered by Medicare?

Yes, stem cell therapy covered by Medicare is available, but only in specific cases. The first important consideration is that Medicare stem cell therapy coverage is only available if your doctor deems the procedure medically necessary. Furthermore, Medicare coverage for stem cell therapy will only apply to services approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Your Medicare Part A benefits help cover inpatient costs, while Medicare Part B will cover a portion of your outpatient costs, but the only treatments approved are those consisting of blood-forming stem cells. Here are the Medicare-approved options available for your healthcare:

  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transportation (HSCT)
  • Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation (AuSCT)

While such therapies are FDA-approved for certain cancers, blood disorders, and/or immune system disorders, they are not approved for other health issues. This includes the use of stem cells that come from your own body. The Office of Tissues and Advanced Therapies (OTAT) showcases the FDA-approved options for stem cell therapy that your plan may cover.

Does Medicare Cover Stem Cell Therapy for Hips?

No, Medicare does not cover stem cell therapy for your hip. While seeking such treatment can be an attractive alternative to receiving a hip replacement, the FDA has yet to approve it for such an application.

It’s also worth noting that clinics advertising such treatments can lead patients to dangerous, risky methods with debilitating side effects. These healthcare methods are illegal and not covered by Medicare benefits.

Does Medicare Cover Stem Cell Therapy for Knees?

Because the FDA does not approve the use of stem cell therapy for knees, your Medicare benefits won’t cover them. While it makes sense that people look for alternatives to knee replacements, as many suffer from osteoarthritis in their knees and look for solutions to help with the pain, until the FDA approves this healthcare, your benefits won’t cover it.

The average cost for stem cell therapy for your knees is about $3,000 to $5,000 per knee. Not to mention, receiving such healthcare may come through unsafe means through illegal practices. Be sure to seek treatment only from reputable healthcare providers that adhere to proper standards, including following FDA guidelines.

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Does Medicare Cover Stem Cell Therapy for Back Pain?

The FDA doesn’t approve using stem cell therapy for back pain. Therefore, Medicare benefits won’t cover these medical expenses. However, Medicare does cover other types of back pain treatments. Considering the cost of stem cell treatments for back pain are around $5,000 to $7,000 and the risk that can come with receiving non-FDA-approved healthcare, alternatives are important to consider.

Does Medicare Cover Stem Cell Therapy for Arthritis?

Medicare won’t cover stem cell therapy to treat arthritis because, this application is not yet approved by the FDA. This means if you receive such treatments at your own risk, you’ll be responsible for the costs. While Medicare doesn’t cover stem cell therapy for arthritis, there are other treatments. Furthermore, there may be available clinical trials that offer Medicare coverage, but you’ll need to ensure they are approved by the program beforehand.

Does Medicare Cover Stem Cell Therapy for Shoulders?

Unfortunately, like many other forms of stem cell therapy, application for your shoulders doesn’t have FDA approval. Medicare won’t cover stem cell injections for shoulders. Furthermore, shoulder injections can range in price from $1,500 to $10,000 and may present risky procedures that may not be legal.

Does Medicare Cover Stem Cell Injections?

Yes, some stem cell injections are covered by your Medicare benefits. Stem cell therapy treatment is an inpatient hospital stay that can last as long as 3 to 4 weeks. Such treatment is covered by Medicare Part A. Yet, outpatient stem cell therapy will fall under your Medicare Part B coverage and have a shorter duration.

The key here is that your Medicare coverage kicks in if the injections are FDA-approved. There are several applications for stem cell injections for therapy, but there are only certain applications that are covered by your Medicare coverage.

Does Medicare Cover Autologous Stem Cell Transplant?

Yes, Medicare will cover Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation (AuSCT). Autologous therapy can help treat acute leukemia that’s in remission and advanced Hodgkin’s Disease, along with assisting in replenishing stem cells destroyed while being treated for cancer via chemotherapy and radiation.

Does Medicare Cover Stem Cell Transplants for Multiple Myeloma?

No, Medicare doesn’t cover stem cell transplants for multiple myeloma since it doesn’t have FDA approval. Keeping in line with the guidelines of Medicare benefits, this includes Medicare Advantage plans and Medigap coverage.

Does Medicare Pay For Stem Cell Therapy for Neuropathy?

Peripheral neuropathy is approved by Medicare, but the use of stem cells is when things become much more complicated. In order to be covered by your Medicare coverage, your healthcare procedure must be approved by the FDA. While there are several applications in which stem cell therapy is covered by Medicare, neuropathy does not appear to fit the guidelines at this time.

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Is Stem Cell Therapy for COPD Covered by Medicare?

No, while stem cell therapy for COPD can range between $10,000 and $35,000, your Medicare coverage doesn’t provide benefits for this procedure. Medicare stem cell therapy for COPD isn’t covered because there is no FDA approval for this type of treatment yet. You also cannot use your Medicare benefits for chronic bronchitis or emphysema.

Does Medicare Cover Regenerative Stem Cell Therapy?

Medicare does not cover regenerative stem cell therapy at this time as the FDA does not yet approve such healthcare. There is a wide range of potential future applications for treatment by stem cell therapy, but the FDA has yet to support them. This is noted in the FDA’s Consumer Alert on Regenerative Medicine, covering everything from the treatment of COVID-19 to epilepsy and much more.

Does Medicare Cover Stem Cell Therapy for Ankylosing Spondylitis?

Because the FDA has yet to approve stem cell therapy for treating ankylosing spondylitis, your Medicare benefits won’t cover it. Your spine and other joints become afflicted by inflammatory arthritis when suffering from ankylosing spondylitis, but until the FDA approves the use of stem cells to treat the condition, your Medicare benefits are not a viable coverage option.

Does Medicare Cover Stem Cell Therapy for Cancer?

Yes, stem cell therapy is covered by Medicare benefits for cancer, but so far, the FDA has only approved certain cancers, such as lymphoma and leukemia. There is hope for the future of stem cell therapy along with the availability of coverage through Medicare. Clinical trials continue to advance modern medicine even further.

There is also the possibility that you can receive stem cell therapy covered by Medicare through a clinical trial if you qualify. However, the trial must also qualify by maintaining the necessary criteria of the federal government’s program for being an eligible clinical trial.

Furthermore, this would also mean that if you have Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement coverage, rather than just Original Medicare benefits, you can also receive coverage. Speaking with your healthcare provider can help you better understand which procedures work best for you, if they are approved by the FDA and Medicare, and whether or not you qualify for such healthcare.

Does QC Kinetix Take Medicare?

It’s a bit difficult to say that the healthcare provider is using stem cells, but it is known that because they are considered an alternative to more traditional means, Medicare does not cover their procedures. Offering patients the opportunity to receive pain management through regenerative medicine, QC Kinetix has been rapidly growing since 2017 and now features more than 170 facilities across the United States.

Is Regenexx Covered by Medicare?

Regenexx provides treatment for various conditions, such as arthritis and injuries, using injections, but Medicare does not cover them. Using a bone marrow concentrate from your own stem cells, some patients have found the treatment to be helpful. But you won’t find Regenexx covered by Medicare at this time. The company is exempt from FDA regulation.

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Does Medicare Cover Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation?

Yes, Medicare can cover Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT), but your coverage only applies to those with specific conditions, such as leukemia, severe combined immunodeficiency disease (SCID), or treatment of Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS). Coverage for HSCT for MDS is only available if the treatment is part of a clinical study that is Medicare-approved.

Whether or not the treatment is delivered through a study or not, there are strict guidelines that dictate if and how you are covered. This means before receiving HSCT. You’ll want to speak with your healthcare provider to review whether or not your individual treatment meets Medicare guidelines.

Does Medicare Advantage Plan Cover Stem Cell Therapy?

Medicare Advantage plans must provide the same coverage as Medicare Part A and Part B. Therefore, your Medicare Advantage coverage will provide benefits for stem cell therapy. But the same stipulations apply for beneficiaries as they do when using Original Medicare benefits.

There are times in which Medicare Advantage plans may offer additional benefits not offered by Original Medicare coverage, but because stem cell therapies outside of the approval of the FDA may be available but are illegal, don’t expect to find coverage.

Furthermore, you’ll want to ensure that a Medicare Advantage plan fits your healthcare needs. Limitations can occur due to the networks each plan works within. Receiving healthcare services outside of these networks can result in higher costs and you may need to change healthcare providers as a result.

Do Medigap Plans Cover Stem Cell Therapy?

A Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan will cover the same healthcare services as Original Medicare. Therefore, any Medicare-approved stem cell therapy that is FDA-approved will be covered by a supplemental policy.

Medicare Part B covers 80% of the cost, but you’re still responsible for the remaining 20%. If you receive stem cell therapy in an inpatient setting, your Medicare Part A benefits will cover you. However, it’s important to remember that Medicare Part A has a deductible as well as other cost-sharing expenses you’re responsible for.

If you have a Medicare Supplement, you can cover these leftover healthcare costs. Depending on your Medigap letter plan, you may have zero cost-sharing to pay for stem cell therapy.

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Stem cell therapy prices can be quite pricey, ranging from $5,000 to $50,000, if not more. When Medicare approves the service, Medigap will also always pay. This is important because it can take the guesswork out when predicting your out-of-pocket costs.

How To Get Stem Cell Therapy Covered by Medicare

Finding coverage for your stem cell therapy from Medicare means finding the appropriate treatment and the good benefits. Each person has their own healthcare and budget concerns to keep in mind while navigating complex treatment.

Original Medicare is necessary, but there are still costs that can remain. A Medicare Advantage plan may be an excellent option for your needs. Still, Medigap plans come with no networks, providing more healthcare options while supplementing your Medicare Part A and Part B coverage.

To find the right coverage options for your needs, you should always work with a licensed Medicare agent to compare benefits while assessing your needs. Our team is here to help.

If you want Medicare to pay for stem cell therapy or cover any of your other healthcare needs, options are available. Call us at the number above or fill out an online rate form and see rates in your area now!

Kayla Hopkins

Kayla Hopkins

Content Editor
Kayla Hopkins is an accomplished writer and Medicare educator 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 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.

30 thoughts on "Does Medicare Cover Stem Cell Therapy?"

  1. Hi!. I have stage 4-5 CKD my egfr is 10. The Mayo Clinic Trails won’t support me getting Stem Cell Therapy my egfr is too low. I found a organization that will administer the Stem Cell but at a nice cost, Would Medicare Part B cover some of the cost and if so how do I go about getting the paper work started?

  2. i had a stem cell transplant treatment for my blood cancer. not all harvested cells were used. does medicare cover storage costs for the cells not used?

  3. Hi Lindsay, i have medicare A&B and an F plan, will medicare cover exosome iv therapy for neuropathy..Chuck

      1. Thanks Lindsay, just had them done today and was hoping for coverage…thank you Chuck

  4. Pretty stupid isn’t it. My two TKR costs over $150,000. That $150,000 would pay for 21 Stem Cell treatments. If only half of them worked it would save Medicare about
    $1.5 million dollars. Now this also does not count the automatic rise in the price of Stem Cell treatments when Medicare approves the proceedure.

    1. I had stem cell therapy on my right knee in May of 2017. Extracted Marrow from my hips, processed, and injected into my knee. Hurt something awful but nothing like the constant pain I have had for years. After three months of physical therapy I was doing great. I was even running again! After roughly 14 months of feeling great I slipped and fell on my “bad” knee. I mostly recovered after more physical therapy until I slipped on a patch of ice the following winter. I haven’t been the same since. Since I have retired I can no longer afford the 8k for treatment. A shame really since I know it can work. Until the FDA approves this type of treatment I will suffer the pain and look for other treatments that “should” help. Knee replacement will be my last option but I fear it is coming soon since I am favoring my knee so much now that it is affecting my back and I am now having back pain.

  5. I have osteo-arthritis in both knees. Was recommended for bi-lateral knee replacement 20 years ago., but every time i hear a story of a positive outcome, i hear another from someone who wouldn’t do it again. I have been to 3-4 seminars on stem cell therapy and see it as a viable alternative to knee replacement surgery. My condition highly affects my quality of life. Under no circumstances can i afford to lay out $5,000 for each knee. I am on a fixed income. Stem cell therapy has been successfully utilized n Europe for the past 2-3 decades. WHY are we lagging so far behind? I have my suspicions, but that’s all they are at this time. What of TRT Therapy? Is that covered by Medicare? Any info would be very much appreciated. Thank you.

    1. Hi Dennis! Yes, for some conditions Medicare will cover TRT. It would be something your doctor can help you determine and get you the appropriate documents to show it’s medically necessary.

  6. I have been told stem cell can help with neuropathies, is it covered and do you know what health plans cover it, I called the Mayo Clinic and they would not talk to me because I was not on their plan

    1. Hi Richard! Medicare covers many different types of stem cell therapy as long as it’s approved by the FDA & your doctor says it’s medically necessary. Medicare & Medigap will cover it, Medicare Advantage may not. It depends on the plan and carrier you enroll with. The Mayo Clinic does accept Medicare.

  7. My husband is 74, and has COPD. His quality of life is poor. I have been investigating autogulus stem cell treatments for him, but the cost is extremely expensive. He has Medicare A & B and Plan G. He also has VA insurance. Will Medicare cover the costs for treatment?

    1. Hi Josie! Yes, Medicare will cover autologous stem cell treatments for specific diagnoses. I would contact your husband’s primary care physician to make sure you have everything you need to present to Medicare so that it’s covered.

    1. Hi Sharon! I would start by asking his doctor. Normally, they will be able to tell you if Medicare will pay for it. If Medicare does cover it, and you have a Medicare Supplement plan through Humana, then they will also cover it. However, if you have a Medicare Advantage plan through Humana, you’ll have to call them to find out if and how much they will cover. Advantage plans out of pocket expenses are much different than Medicare and Medigap. I did find some information on CMS for stem cell treatments that may be helpful to you.

  8. Why does Medicare not pay for stem cell therapy for the lungs? It would improve my life so much.

  9. So Medicare will Pay the bills for having both of my knee icompletely replaced at tens of thousands of dollars expense but they won’t cover eight hundred dollars For PRP injection into my knee that could heal them.

  10. Yes they should cover stem cells because there are so many people out there that would benefit greatly from this, & many lives saved.

  11. Yes, the FDA needs to approve these types therapies. There are so many alternatives to help people, PEMF therapy, cold laser treatments, stem cell therapy. These therapies would greatly enhance quality of life for many patients, not to mention greatly reduce opioid use. We need to start somewhere and offer help and education for those suffering with pain and/or illness. I hope for you, Donna, that it happens soon.

  12. Hi, my name is Faith. I’m diagnosed with OA of the left hip. I have Medicare and Medicaid. I’m also diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, over 20 years. Will this stem research be beneficial to my left hip if approved?

    1. Hi Faith! That’s something you would have to speak to your primary physician about. I hope it’s beneficial for you!

  13. Medicare should absolutely pay for stem cell therapy. Aferall, stem cell therapy is less invasive to our bodies and the recovery time is faster. Any ideas on what we can do to get SCT covered by Medicare?

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