Does Medicare Cover CT Scans?

Christian Worstell
In this article...
  • CT scans are imaging tests that help doctors diagnose and treat diseases. Read on to learn if Medicare covers CT scans and how much this test costs out of pocket.

Doctors often order imaging tests such as computed tomography (CT) scans to help diagnose and treat health conditions. The good news is, as long as your doctor has ordered the test, your CT scan should be covered by Medicare.

When Does Medicare Pay for CT Scans?

Medicare covers CT scans through Part B medical insurance. It's considered a diagnostic non-laboratory test as long as your physician considers it medically necessary. The test must be ordered by a health care provider as part of diagnosing and treating a health condition.

Medicare pays for 80% of the Medicare-approved cost if you've met the Part B deductible for the year. In 2024, the deductible is $240.

Medicare covers CT scans regardless of whether you receive your health care coverage through Original Medicare or a plan such as Medicare Advantage.

What Is a CT Scan Used For?

CT scans are imaging tests that provide a cross-sectional look at organs and tissues. They offer more detail than conventional X-rays and are useful for giving physicians information to help diagnose and treat:

  • Cancer.
  • Circulatory diseases.
  • Spinal conditions.
  • Kidney and bladder stones.
  • Inflammatory diseases.
  • Head injuries.
  • Brain function.
  • Tumors and lesions.
  • Blood clots.
  • Cardiovascular diseases.
  • Broken bones.
  • Eroded joints.
  • Internal bleeding.

How a CT Scan Works

A CT scan is a painless, noninvasive imaging test. You're asked to lie on a padded, motorized table that slides through the round opening of an X-ray machine.

The X-ray beam rotates continuously around the opening to take images of your body from different angles as the table moves through. In some CT machines, the table may stay still and the scanner moves over your body.

Many different images are captured during the scan and then reconstructed by computer to give detailed, cross-sectional views of organs and tissues.

What to Expect During a CT Scan

CT scans are usually performed on an outpatient basis.

Once you've removed jewelry and clothing that may interfere with the exam, you're asked to wear a gown and get positioned on a narrow, padded table.

The technician may ask you to lie on your back, side or stomach, depending on the part of the body being scanned. You may also be given a contrasting dye through an IV to help make the images clearer. Some dyes may be taken orally.

As the machine scans your body, it makes a whirring or humming noise. The technician may ask you to hold your breath at certain points of the exam.

CT machines are smaller than MRI machines and surround only part of the body. Because they're not enclosed, they generally do not cause claustrophobic feelings. It takes a few minutes to half an hour to complete a CT scan.

Be sure to discuss any anxieties or concerns about your CT scan directly with your health care provider.

How Much is a CT Scan?

The cost of a CT scan can vary depending on various factors such as the location, the healthcare provider, and the specific type of CT scan required. In the United States, the average cost of a CT scan without insurance coverage can range from $500 to $3,000 or more. However, it is important to note that prices can significantly differ, and some providers may offer discounted rates or payment plans.

Additionally, the cost can be higher if contrast dye or additional procedures are needed. It's always recommended to consult with healthcare providers or medical facilities directly to obtain accurate and up-to-date pricing information based on individual circumstances.

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

Read More
Man uses laptop computer at home in his kitchen is an important resource for Medicare enrollees. Learn about some of the features the ...
Happy Senior Couple Outdoors
Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans can help cover some of the gaps in Medicare coverage, such as ...
Doctor smiles and talks with patient
These top 10 insurance companies offer Medicare Supplement Insurance (also called Medigap) in most ...