Does Medicare Cover Anesthesia?

Christian Worstell
In this article...
  • Find out if Medicare covers anesthesia, and learn about the amount of coverage provided by Medicare and the out-of-pocket percentages that beneficiaries are responsible for.

In most cases, Medicare does cover anesthesia, but there are some exceptions. Which part of Medicare covers anesthesia services can depend on whether you receive anesthesia during an inpatient hospital stay or as part of an outpatient procedure. 

Anesthesia prevents individuals from feeling pain when undergoing surgical procedures. The three categories of anesthesia are general, regional and local.

General anesthesia is used to put people to sleep during extensive surgery, while local and regional anesthesia works to numb the area in which the procedure is performed, allowing them to stay conscious without feeling pain.

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When Does Medicare Pay for Anesthesia?

Medicare covers anesthesia under most circumstances.

  • Medicare Part A provides coverage for anesthesia administered in hospital settings

  • Medicare Part B covers anesthesia administered during outpatient procedures in both hospitals and freestanding ambulatory surgical centers. 

Individuals with Medicare Advantage plans receive the same coverage as Medicare Part A and Part B, and they may also qualify for additional coverage. However, those with Medicare Advantage may have to choose an anesthesiologist in their plan's specific network to prevent additional charges. 

Does Medicare Pay for Anesthesia for Colonoscopies to Screen for Colon Cancer?

In situations where someone must undergo a colonoscopy procedure to screen for colon cancer, Medicare provides full coverage for anesthesia services.

If polyps or other abnormal tissue is removed during the colonoscopy screening, Medicare recipients are required to pay out-of-pocket for the entire procedure, including anesthesia administration. This is because the removal of tissues and polyps is considered a medical treatment as opposed to a cancer screening. 

Anesthesia administration during colonoscopies is only covered by Medicare when the procedure is necessary to check for colon cancer. Anesthesia for colonoscopies utilized to detect other medical issues are not covered under any Medicare plan.

Have Medicare questions?

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

Is Conscious Sedation Covered by Medicare?

Conscious sedation is a medical treatment that combines sedative drugs with pain-blocking anesthetics.

Medicare does not typically cover conscious sedation for dental procedures. However, Medicare Part B provides coverage for conscious sedation utilized in procedures such as minor surgery and endoscopic upper GI imaging. 

What Is the Average Cost for Anesthesia?

The cost of anesthesia services can vary depending on the specific procedure. On average, costs range between $500 and $3,500, with $500 on the lower side for outpatient local anesthetic and $3,500 on the higher side for general anesthesia. 

Does Medicare Cover Any Type of Anesthesia for Dental Work?

In general, Medicare does not pay for dental work or anesthesia administration for dental procedures.

Have Medicare questions?

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

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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