Does Medicare Cover Chemotherapy?

Christian Worstell
In this article...
  • Does Medicare cover chemotherapy? Find out more about whether these cancer treatments are covered and under which plans, as well as what you might pay.

Medicare may cover chemotherapy if a doctor has diagnosed a beneficiary with cancer and has prescribed chemotherapy as a treatment.

Medicare can also cover the administration of chemotherapy drugs in a hospital or clinic setting or in a doctor’s surgery. Medicare may also cover these medications when administered in a beneficiary's home.

Chemotherapy is described by the American Cancer Society as certain types of medications that are used in the treatment of cancer. There are many types of medications that are used; the type used in any specific treatment is determined by the type of cancer a patient has and the degree to which it has spread at the time of diagnosis. Chemotherapy is available in pills, capsules, as a liquid and in injectable forms.

What Medicare Plans Cover Chemotherapy?

Medicare can cover chemotherapy for those with a cancer diagnosis and contributes towards the cost of chemotherapy through Medicare Parts A, B and D, depending on how the treatment is prescribed and administered.

Medicare Part A

Medicare Part A, which provides hospital coverage, may cover a variety of treatments such as chemotherapy for those requiring inpatient hospitalization.

Medicare Part B

Medicare Part B may cover a number of treatments for hospital outpatients and for patients in clinics and doctors’ practices. It might also cover oral and intravenous chemotherapy as well as assisting with the cost of medications.

Hospitals conducting research on cancer treatments and Medicare can additionally cover many of the costs associated with these treatments for those participating in the studies.

What Is the Cost of Cancer Treatment with Medicare?

The costs of cancer treatments can be covered for beneficiaries that have been prescribed medication by doctors that accept Medicare. Sometimes very particular criteria need to be met before coverage is provided for treatments.

Coverage under Medicare Part B pays for 80 percent of the cost of enrollees’ allowed charges for cancer treatments after they meet their annual Part B deductible, leaving the remaining 20 percent to be paid by the beneficiary.

How Much Is a Medicare Beneficiary's Chemotherapy Out of Pocket Cost?

Chemotherapy is one of the treatments that are prescribed most often for cancer and can cost beneficiaries anywhere between $1,000 and $12,000 per month. Those without health insurance can be responsible for paying chemotherapy costs that range from $10,000 to $200,000.

The amount charged for chemotherapy is also dependent on factors such as the type of cancer diagnosis, the type of chemotherapy prescribed, the number of treatments, the stage of cancer and the treatment setting.

Cancer Treatment Options

There are many kinds of cancer treatments, and the type a patient receives will largely depend on the type of cancer and its level of advancement. Some of the most commonly prescribed treatments include:

  • Surgery to eliminate the tumor
  • Chemotherapy medications to destroy cancer cells
  • Radiation therapy to reduce the size of tumors and eliminate cancer cells

Immunotherapy to enhance the ability of the immune system to fight the cancer

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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