Does Medicare Cover Jaw Surgery?

by David Bynon, last updated

If it’s medically necessary, Medicare covers TMJ treatment, including jaw surgery. Orthognathic surgery is a procedure that is medically necessary when you have jawbone irregularities that affect your daily life functions.

Medicare Part B covers 80% of the surgery if you have orthognathic surgery as an outpatient. If your surgery is more complicated and requires a hospital stay, it will be covered under Medicare Part A.

Does Medicare Cover TMJ Treatment?

This article will help you estimate what jaw surgery could cost if you have Original Medicare.

Key Takeaways

  • Jaw surgery is used to fix injuries and issues with the jaw and mouth that impair your ability to speak, eat, and rest comfortably.
  • A jaw surgery that requires you to stay at a hospital would be covered under Medicare Part A.
  • If your jaw surgery doesn’t require a hospital stay or you require other outpatient services after your surgery, Medicare Part B will provide coverage.
  • Part B covers medication that is by your doctor, while Part D covers prescription medication costs that your doctor orders for you.
  • A Medigap policy will assist with your remaining out-of-pocket costs for Medicare-approved services, including surgical and hospital costs.
  • While Medicare Advantage Plan members can expect their necessary surgical procedures to be covered, the out-of-pocket costs will vary between plans and are often great than Original Medicare if you require a hospital stay.

What Jaw Problems Can Be Fixed By Surgery?

Jaw surgery corrects irregularities of the jawbones. Also known as orthognathic (or-thog-NATH-ik) surgery, the procedure realigns the jaws and teeth to improve the way they work. Orthognathic surgery may be an option if you have jaw problems that your doctor can’t fix with orthodontics. Jaw surgery may help, “Jaw Surgery: About”, Accessed January 4, 2022

  • Make biting easier and improve chewing
  • Correct problems with swallowing and/or speech
  • Minimize excessive wear of the teeth
  • Correct bite fit or jaw closure issues
  • Correct facial imbalance (asymmetry)
  • Improve the ability of the lips to fully close comfortably
  • Relieve pain caused by temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder
  • Repair facial injury or birth defects
  • Provide relief for obstructive sleep apnea

Average Costs For Jaw Surgery

Jaw surgery is a complex reconstructive procedure and has a price tag to prove it. Jaw surgery costs can range between $20,000 to $40,000 without coverage, depending on the procedure’s complexity and if you need to spend time recovering in the hospital. If you are covered by Medicare Part B and your surgery doesn’t require a hospital stay, you will pay 20 percent of the total cost for the procedure. That’s the Medicare Part B copayment amount, which could range from $4,000 to $8,000 for this procedure. That staggering out-of-pocket cost is why a Medicare supplement is so, “Orthognathic Surgery Cost”, Accessed January 4, 2022

How Does Medicare Cover Jaw Surgeries?

Medicare does cover jaw surgery in most circumstances. As with most Medicare-covered services, the surgery must be medically necessary. Cosmetic jaw shaping does not qualify. If you require surgery due to an injury or a worsening medical condition, the procedure and rehabilitation costs are covered by Medicare Part A and Part, “Surgery”, Accessed January 4, 2022

Medicare Part A

If your jaw surgery requires you to recover at the hospital or a skilled nursing facility due to the severity of the procedure, Medicare Part A will pay its share, “Inpatient rehabilitation care”, Accessed January 4, 2022

  • Semi-private room and board
  • Meals
  • Skilled nursing care
  • Medications needed for your treatment

Medicare Part A also helps cover the first 100 days of your post-surgery recovery care at a skilled nursing facility, including physical therapy, “Skilled nursing facility (SNF) care”, Accessed January 4, 2022

Medicare Part B

If your jaw surgery doesn’t require inpatient care, it will be performed in an outpatient surgical center. Medicare Part B covers 80 percent of the cost for outpatient surgeries and services, including follow-up doctor visits, physical therapy for your jaw, and durable medical equipment (neck brace, headgear, etc.) you will need while you, “Outpatient hospital services”, Accessed January 4,, “Physical therapy”, Accessed January 4,, “Braces (arm, leg, back, & neck)”, Accessed January 4, 2022

Will Medicare Cover My Prescription Drugs After Jaw Surgery?

Original Medicare (Parts A and B) only covers medication that requires by your doctor, “Prescription drugs (outpatient)”, Accessed January 4, 2022. If you need coverage for prescription drugs post-surgery (pain medication, antibiotics, etc.), you will need a Medicare Part D plan. Part D plans will provide coverage for prescription drugs once you have paid the plan’s annual deductible (if any). Once coverage starts, you will only pay a fraction of the drug’s cost in the form of a, “What Medicare Part D drug plans cover”, Accessed January 4, 2022

Medicare Supplement Insurance

We mentioned a $4,000 to $8,000 estimate in out-of-pocket costs for outpatient jaw surgery with Medicare coverage. That’s better than the full $20,000 to $40,000, but is still a significant cost for anyone to pay out-of-pocket. However, you can get help with out-of-pocket costs for Medicare-approved services by getting Medicare supplement insurance (Medigap). A Medigap plan can help protect you from unforeseen out-of-pocket costs after Medicare pays its share, such, “How to compare Medigap policies”, Accessed January 4, 2022

  • Deductibles
  • Coinsurance
  • Copayments
  • Blood (the first three pints)

Medicare Advantage Plans

Medicare Advantage plans will provide coverage for your jaw surgery costs, just as Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) covers it. However, Medicare Advantage out-of-pocket costs can differ compared to what you get with Original Medicare and are infamous for being significantly higher for hospital stay costs after the first three days. Please read our article on the topic here if you are interested in how Medicare and Medicare Advantage cover hospital, “How do Medicare Advantage Plans work?“, Accessed January 4, 2022

In Summary

Like most medically necessary services, Medicare will provide coverage for your jaw surgery if your doctor orders it. With that said, surgeries are expensive and the out-of-pocket costs can still be frightening even after Medicare has paid its share. You should consider looking at Medigap plans available in your area and purchasing to protect your finances in the long term against sudden medical expenses.


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