If you have cancer, the type and amount of care you need may change as you are treated. There are three major types of treatment:
You may get two or more of these treatments at the same time or one after another.
What does Medicare cover?
Cancer treatment can cost a lot. But Medicare will help pay to diagnose medical and mental health conditions you face. Medicare covers these services:
- Doctor visits
- Certain medical items
- Ongoing medical treatment for your cancer diagnosis
- Hospital care
- Second opinions on surgery
- Chemotherapy, or drugs you take, by mouth or by vein
- Medical treatment for other health conditions and side effects of your cancer treatment
- Prescription drugs, for chemotherapy and to treat side effects such as nausea
- Health care services at home, such as a visiting nurse or rehabilitation therapist and home health aides
- Care to help you do daily tasks, called rehabilitative care
- Mental health services
- Experimental treatments in clinical trials
- Short-term nursing home care
- Hospice or end-of-life care
What will Medicare NOT cover?
Medicare may not pay for everything you need. Medicare often does not cover these services:
- Services that help you bathe, eat, and do other activities of daily living but do not require skilled care
- Nutritional supplements
- Costs to give chemotherapy or other drugs by vein
- Stays in assisted living facilities
- Adult day care
- Long-term nursing home care
Medicare will pay for most of your cancer treatment, but cancer care costs a lot. Your out-of-pocket costs can add up quickly.
Some people with Medicare have supplemental insurance to pay for care Medicare does not cover. This can include:
- A Medigap policy
- Health insurance through a current or past job
- Medicaid, a government health program for people with limited incomes and resources
- Veteran's benefits through the Veterans Administration (VA)
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