Does Medicare Cover Physical Therapy?

by David Bynon, last updated

If Medicare covers you and you have an illness or injury that requires physical therapy, you may wonder, “What does Medicare cover?” More specifically, you’ll likely want to know, “Does Medicare cover physical therapy?”

In this article, we will look at how Medicare covers physical therapy and guide you through verifying your benefits.

Key Takeaways

  • Physical therapy can be used to treat and improve a wide array of physical conditions.
  • Medicare provides coverage for medically necessary physical therapy.
  • Medicare Advantage members have coverage for medically necessary physical therapy, but you may be restricted on which service providers you can use.
  • Medicare will cover up to $2,150 for physical therapy service fees before you require your doctor to order it as medically necessary.
  • Physical therapy services are covered by Medicare when performed by a certified health care professional at a Medicare-approved facility.
  • If your Medicare coverage for a physical therapy treatment is denied, you can file an appeal with evidence for why the physical therapy is medically necessary.

What Is Physical Therapy?

Physical therapy is a rehabilitative health treatment that uses specially designed exercises and equipment to help patients regain or improve their physical abilities after a physical, “Physical Therapy“, Accessed November 22, 2021. Examples of physical conditions that can be improved by physical therapy, “How can physical therapy help?“, Accessed November 22, 2021

  • Back and joint pain
  • Carpal tunnel and trigger finger
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Stroke
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Concussions
  • Tennis elbow
  • Pelvic floor dysfunction

Does Medicare Cover Physical Therapy?

Yes! Medicare Part B, which covers most outpatient services, covers physical therapy when it is medically necessary. The laws governing Medicare no longer set a limit on how much it pays for physical therapy in a calendar, “Physical therapy“, Accessed November 22, 2021 If you are covered by Original Medicare, your benefits will be different than coverage under a Medicare Advantage plan.

With a Medicare Advantage plan, you have all the coverage of Parts A and B, plus additional services and benefits. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you may be required to use an approved physical therapist in your plan’s, “How do Medicare Advantage Plans work?“, Accessed November 22, 2021.

How Much Will I Have To Pay?

Medicare is a shared-cost program. For most outpatient services, you pay 20 percent of the cost after you meet your annual deductible. Medicare pays the other 80 percent of the approved, “Part B costs”, Accessed November 22, 2021 If you have a Medigap policy that covers the Part B coinsurance, it will cover its share of your physical therapy sessions.

Medicare covers up to $2,150 (2022 amount) for physical therapy before your doctor must specify your care is medically necessary. And since Medicare pays 80 percent of this cost, your portion is $, “Therapy Services”, Accessed November 22, 2021

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you will likely have a copay instead of the 20 percent coinsurance. Copays vary by, “How do Medicare Advantage Plans work?“, Accessed November 22, 2021 If you have a Medicare Supplement plan to help cover some of the gaps in your Original Medicare, what you pay will depend on the plan you, “What’s Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap)?“, Accessed November 22, 2021.

The specific amount you will pay for physical therapy services will depend on the type of Medicare plan you have, how much your doctor charges for their services, and the type of facility where the service is provided. Always discuss costs with your healthcare provider, so you have a clear understanding of your financial responsibility.

How Do I Know If My Therapy Is Medically Necessary?

Medicare defines medically necessary as “services or supplies that are needed to diagnose or treat your medical condition and that meet accepted standards of medical practice.” If your provider is a professional physical therapy practitioner, they can help you determine if Medicare covers your therapy, “Glossary“, Accessed November 22, 2021

Suppose your therapy is determined by Medicare not to be medically necessary. In that case, you or your doctor will receive an Advanced Beneficiary Notice of Non-Coverage (ABN). You have the option of appealing this, “Advance Beneficiary Notice of Noncoverage“, Accessed November 22, 2021.

Appealing Coverage Denial

In order to appeal for coverage, you will need to fill out a Redetermination Request Form and send it to your area’s Medicare Claims Office address. You will find their specific address in your monthly Medicare Summary Notice (MSN), located on the bottom right corner of the fourth, “How do I file an appeal?“, Accessed November 22, 2021

Find the Right Option For You

Does Medicare cover physical therapy after an accident or surgery? Yes, it does. As long as the physical therapy is medically necessary, it will be covered by Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan.

Determining your Medicare benefits can be tricky, but MedicareWire offers plenty of help and Medicare resources to answer your questions. Check out the rest of our site for important information about Medicare Advantage plan options for your needs and budget.


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