Does Medicare Cover GoLYTELY?

Christian Worstell
In this article...
  • GoLYTELY is a laxative used to clear out the bowel before some diagnostic tests. This article outlines Medicare coverage for GoLYTELY and PEG 3350 medications.

GoLYTELY is a type of laxative used to clear out the colon before a colonoscopy and barium enema X-ray. It contains an osmotic laxative called PEG 3350 and electrolytes to prevent electrolyte imbalance. 

This medication comes as a powder to mix with 1 gallon of water. Usually, doctors advise people using GoLYTELY to drink around 240 milliliters every 10 minutes until they finish the entire dose or they pass only clear liquid from the rectum. Your doctor may also tell you to eat lightly before taking your medication and abstain from consuming red or purple drinks. Some people find the taste of GoLYTELY unpleasant, and chilling it can make it more palatable. 

GoLYTELY Side Effects

You should expect to experience diarrhea after taking GoLYTELY, as this effect is necessary to cleanse the colon. Occasionally, GoLYTELY can cause other side effects, which may include:

  • Bloating
  • Feeling uncomfortably full
  • Nausea
  • Soreness or itching around the anus
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach cramps

Does Medicare Cover GoLYTELY?

Probably not; people enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B (Original Medicare) are unlikely to be entitled to GoLYTELY coverage. However, 99% of Medicare supplemental drug coverage policies cover GoLYTELY or a generic alternative. 

Therefore, you're highly likely to have coverage if you have Part D or a Medicare Advantage plan that covers prescriptions. Prescription drug coverage isn't a mandatory Medicare benefit, but many of the top-rated Medicare Advantage plans include it.

If your plan doesn't cover GoLYTELY specifically, it will likely cover an unbranded PEG 3353 and electrolytes medication. These medications generally come under Tier 2 of your insurer's formulary (covered medications list).

How Much Will I Pay for GoLYTELY With Medicare?

GoLYTELY costs around $29 to $66 for a 4-liter bottle without insurance coverage, although you could pay less if you subscribe to a medication discount service. Whether you have to pay for GoLYTELY out of pocket depends on your deductible status. If you haven't met your yearly deductible, you'll pay the full cost of your medication. 

However, if you've already paid your deductible, your insurer will pay for GoLYTELY if you're eligible for coverage. Most Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage companies don't charge co-pays for GoLYTELY.

Medicare Coverage Restrictions for GoLYTELY

Coverage for GoLYTELY is usually unrestricted for Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage enrollees. 

Christian Worstell
About the Author

Christian Worstell is a senior Medicare and health insurance writer with He is also a licensed health insurance agent. Christian is well-known in the insurance industry for the thousands of educational articles he’s written, helping Americans better understand their health insurance and Medicare coverage.

Christian’s work as a Medicare expert has appeared in several top-tier and trade news outlets including Forbes, MarketWatch, WebMD and Yahoo! Finance.

While at HelpAdvisor, Christian has written hundreds of articles that teach Medicare beneficiaries the best practices for navigating Medicare. His articles are read by thousands of older Americans each month. By better understanding their health care coverage, readers may hopefully learn how to limit their out-of-pocket Medicare spending and access quality medical care.

Christian’s passion for his role stems from his desire to make a difference in the senior community. He strongly believes that the more beneficiaries know about their Medicare coverage, the better their overall health and wellness is as a result.

A current resident of Raleigh, Christian is a graduate of Shippensburg University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. You can find Christian’s most recent articles in our blog.

If you’re a member of the media looking to connect with Christian, please don’t hesitate to email our public relations team at

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