Does Medicare Cover Cataract Surgery? (2023 Update)

Christian Worstell
In this article...
  • Medicare covers cataract surgery, both phacoemulsification and extracapsular. Learn how much cataract surgery costs with Medicare and what you should know before the procedure.

Many Medicare beneficiaries are aware that Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) does not cover routine vision care. But does Medicare cover cataract surgery?

Medicare does indeed pay for cataract surgery, and there is plenty for beneficiaries to know about the coverage.

Have Medicare questions?

Talk to a licensed agent today to find a plan that fits your needs.

When Does Medicare Pay for Cataract Surgery?

When does Medicare Part B cover cataract surgery? Medicare Part B and all Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans cover preoperative and postoperative eye exams, the removal of the cataract, the insertion of basic lens implants and one set of prescription eyeglasses or one set of contact lenses following the procedure.

Hospitalization is typically not needed for cataract surgery. But should hospitalization occur as a result of any complications, your hospital stay will be covered by Medicare Part A and all Medicare Advantage plans.    

There are two main types of cataract surgery, phacoemulsification and extracapsular. Medicare provides coverage for both.

How Much Does Cataract Surgery Cost With Medicare?

You pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for cataract surgery after you meet the annual Part B deductible, which is $240 in 2024. This 20% cost is your Part B copay.

But how much does cataract surgery cost with Medicare? According to, the official government website for Medicare, Medicare Part B beneficiaries pay an average coinsurance of $168 when the procedure is performed at an ambulatory surgical center and $179 per eye when performed in a hospital outpatient department. Costs include both a facility fee and a doctor fee. 

You then must also pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for the eyeglasses or contact lenses following the surgery. 

If the surgery is performed by a doctor who is enrolled in Medicare but does not accept Medicare assignment, you may be charged up to 15% more for the procedure. 

Beneficiaries with a Medicare Supplement Insurance (also called Medigap) plan can have the 20% coinsurance covered in full. Some Medigap beneficiaries may even have the Part B deductible covered as well.

Millions of Medicare beneficiaries rely on Medicare Supplement plans to help protect them from potentially high medical costs, especially when they need to have surgery. You can learn more about Medigap plans and find plans available where you live by comparing plans online or calling to speak with a licensed insurance agent.

What Should Beneficiaries Know About Medicare and Cataract Surgery?

There are a few things beneficiaries should know about Medicare’s coverage of cataract surgery.

  • In order for Medicare to cover the cost of cataract surgery, a doctor must determine the procedure to be medically necessary. 
  • The surgery must be performed at a Medicare-approved facility by a Medicare-participating doctor or a doctor who accepts Medicare assignment, and the supplier of your eyeglasses or contact lenses must also be enrolled in Medicare.  
  • Medicare will only pay for a basic set of intraocular lenses and eyeglasses with basic frames. More advanced intraocular lenses or frames may require you to pay some or all of the cost.

  • After cataract surgery, you will usually be prescribed eye drops or an antibiotic, which may be covered by a Medicare Part D plan or Medicare Advantage plan that includes prescription drug coverage. These medications will not be covered by Original Medicare.
  • The cost of a laser cataract surgery is generally more expensive than when a laser is not used. 

Have Medicare questions?

Talk to a licensed agent today to find a plan that fits your needs.

Where Can I Ask Questions About Cataract Surgery and Medicare?

If you’re enrolled in Original Medicare, you may call Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) for questions about coverage of cataract surgery. 

You can also compare Medicare Supplement plans online to find out if a plan is available near you that can help cover the out-of-pocket Medicare costs of cataract surgery.

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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