Does Medicare Cover Abortion?

Christian Worstell
In this article...
  • Medicare covers abortion only if your situation meets certain federal guidelines. Learn more about the costs and coverage guidelines of Medicare abortion coverage.

Medicare does cover abortion as a medically necessary procedure in very specific circumstances. The U.S. government has rules about when federal programs or programs that are federally funded can be used to cover abortion.

Does the U.S. Government Pay for Abortions?

Yes, some federally funded programs do help cover the cost of abortions. However, the circumstances under which those programs can pay for or help fund abortions are limited by a law called the Hyde Amendment, which was a response to the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that abortion was not illegal.

The Hyde Amendment limits how federal funds can be used to cover abortion. The Hyde Amendment isn't a permanent law. It's a rider each year on the Congressional appropriations bill used to fund the Department of Health and Human Services. As of early 2021, the amendment had been renewed every year for more than 40 years.

Does Medicare Cover Abortions?

Yes, medicare will cover abortions if the pregnancy is caused by rape or incest, as well as in the cases of a life-threatening pregnancy that can only be resolved with an abortion. 

When Does Medicare Cover Abortions?

Medicare covers abortions as allowed under the Hyde Amendment. That means abortion may be covered by Medicare if a pregnancy was the result of either incest or rape. An abortion might also be covered as a live-saving measure for a mother. To count as a covered, life-saving measure, the following facts must be in place prior to the abortion:

  • The mother must have some type of physical illness, injury or condition, either prior to pregnancy or caused by the pregnancy.
  • The condition or result of the condition coupled with the pregnancy puts the mother's life in danger.
  • A physical certifies that the above two facts are true, and the mother is in danger of death if an abortion is not performed.

The above coverage limitations are true for both Original Medicare coverage as well as Medicare Advantage Plans. Since state Medicaid programs are partially federally funded, it's true for those as well.

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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