Does Medicare Cover Open Heart Surgery?

Christian Worstell
In this article...
  • Does Medicare cover open heart surgery? It depends on which type of Medicare you have. Keep reading to learn more about Medicare coverage for heart procedures.

Medicare covers several types of heart surgery, including coronary bypass and open heart surgery used to treat problems with the heart valves. It also covers cardiac rehabilitation, a program designed to strengthen your heart after heart surgery or a heart attack.

If your doctor prescribes medications to take following your surgery, your Medicare Part D plan may cover the costs.

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Does Medicare Pay for Open Heart Surgery Inpatient Expenses?

Original Medicare is broken into two parts: Hospital Insurance and Medical Insurance.

Hospital Insurance, also called Medicare Part A, covers the services you receive as an inpatient in a hospital. Although your plan may not mention open heart surgery specifically, this type of surgery is "medically necessary."

Medicare pays for medically necessary services, or services used to diagnose or treat illnesses and injuries, so it will cover many of the costs associated with open heart surgery. 

Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) plans are sold by insurance companies and must cover everything covered by Original Medicare, so you get the same inpatient benefits as a Medicare Advantage enrollee as you would if you signed up for Original Medicare.

Therefore, your Medicare Advantage Plan will also cover many of the costs of having open heart surgery, including hospital room and board, nursing care and any medications given to you while you're in the hospital.

How Much Does Open Heart Surgery Cost With Medicare?

Your inpatient hospital open heart surgery costs are covered by Medicare Part A after you pay the Part A deductible for each benefit period.

Medicare Part B also has a deductible, along with a copay or coinsurance for each service.

A Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) plan can help pay for your Medicare out-of-pocket costs for open heart surgery.

If you're enrolled in Medicare Advantage, your costs will vary based on where you live and which plan you select.

Does Medicare Cover Open Heart Surgery Rehabilitation?

Medicare will pay for cardiac rehabilitation if you've had at least one of the following:

  • Coronary artery bypass
  • Heart attack within the past 12 months
  • Heart failure
  • Heart transplant
  • Stable angina
  • Coronary angioplasty or stenting
  • Heart valve replacement or repair

If you have Original Medicare, your Part B benefits may pay for 36 rehabilitation sessions. Once you pay your Part B deductible, Medicare Part B pays for 80% of the cost, leaving you to pay the other 20%.

Your out-of-pocket costs may be even lower if you have a Medigap plan that covers Medicare Part B copays and coinsurance.

If you have Medicare Advantage, your out-of-pocket costs will depend on your plan details. Some plans cover cardiac rehabilitation with no copay while other plans have higher copays than Original Medicare.

During cardiac rehabilitation, you'll participate in supervised exercise and counseling to help you understand how to live a heart-healthy lifestyle.

Medicare Coverage for Medications After Open Heart Surgery

Original Medicare doesn't cover most prescriptions, so it won't pay for medications that your doctor prescribes for you to take at home following your open heart surgery.

If you have a Medicare drug plan (Medicare Part D) or a Medicare Advantage plan that includes Part D benefits, your Part D benefits may cover medications used to control your heart rate, keep your blood pressure within the normal range and prevent your cholesterol level from increasing.

Medicare Coverage for Heart Valve Surgery

Although open heart surgery is often performed to treat coronary artery disease, it's also used to repair or replace damaged heart valves. If the surgery is medically necessary, your Medicare Part A benefits will cover much of the cost.

Medicare Coverage for Angioplasty and Stenting

In some cases, minimally invasive treatment is used as an alternative to open heart surgery. Angioplasty and stenting are two of the most common treatment options.

During an angioplasty, a doctor advances a medical balloon into a blocked artery. Inflating the balloon relieves the blockage, resulting in improved blood flow. Stenting involves inserting a tube made of wire mesh (stent) into the blocked artery. The stent holds the artery open, letting blood flow through it unobstructed. Both procedures are considered cardiac catheterizations because a catheter is needed to advance the balloon or stent into the blocked vessel.

Medicare covers these procedures, but the type of coverage depends on the circumstances. If you have a cardiac catheterization on an outpatient basis, your Medicare Part B benefits will cover the procedure. Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) will cover the costs of your inpatient stay, such as your room, meals, nurse care and other costs.

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