Does Medicare cover plastic surgery? This is one question that has lingered in the minds of Medicare and Medicaid patients. Medicare and Medicaid are two government programs that provide healthcare coverage for millions of Americans. While both programs offer coverage for a wide range of medical services, including reconstructive surgeries, it is important to understand the specific benefits and limitations associated with each program.

When it comes to plastic and reconstructive surgery, the coverage provided by these programs differs based on specific circumstances and requirements. In this article, we will explore the coverage provided by Medicare and Medicaid for reconstructive surgeries and analyze the advantages and limitations of these programs in relation to such procedures.

Does Medicare cover plastic surgery? An Overview of Medicare & Medicaid Coverage for Reconstructive Surgeries


Medicare, primarily designed for individuals aged 65 and older, as well as certain younger individuals with disabilities, provides coverage for reconstructive surgeries in specific circumstances. Medicare Part A, which covers hospital stays, may include coverage for reconstructive surgeries if they are deemed medically necessary and are performed in an inpatient setting. Additionally, Medicare Part B, which covers outpatient services, may also provide coverage for reconstructive surgeries if they are considered medically necessary and meet certain criteria outlined by Medicare guidelines.

Does Medicare cover plastic surgery?

In general, Medicare does not cover cosmetic surgery procedures solely performed to enhance appearance. However, it does provide coverage for medically necessary reconstructive surgery following an injury, illness, or disease. Here are some common reconstructive procedures that Medicare may cover:

  • Breast Reconstruction: Medicare covers breast reconstruction surgery following a mastectomy (removal of breast tissue) due to breast cancer or other diseases. This includes procedures such as breast implantation, tissue flap reconstruction, or a combination of both.
  • Skin Cancer Reconstruction: If a skin cancer removal surgery results in significant defects or requires reconstructive procedures, Medicare may cover the necessary surgeries to repair and restore the affected area.
  • Facial Trauma Reconstruction: Medicare may provide coverage for reconstructive surgery to repair facial injuries resulting from accidents, trauma, or deformities caused by congenital abnormalities.
  • Reconstructive Surgeries for Malformation or Deformities: Medicare may cover reconstructive procedures to correct malformations or congenital deformities, such as cleft lip or palate, hand abnormalities, or other birth defects that impact function or quality of life.


On the other hand, Medicaid, a joint federal and state program that provides healthcare coverage for low-income individuals and families, may offer coverage for reconstructive surgeries under certain circumstances. Medicaid coverage for reconstructive procedures varies by state, but generally, it follows the federal guidelines that define medically necessary reconstructive surgeries as those aimed at improving bodily functions or correcting acquired or congenital abnormalities. However, it is important to note that Medicaid coverage can vary significantly from state to state, and individuals are advised to check with their state’s Medicaid program to understand the specific coverage available to them.

Medicaid Coverage for Reconstructive Surgeries

Medicaid coverage for reconstructive surgery is generally more comprehensive than Medicare. Each state has its own guidelines and coverage policies, so it’s essential to review the specific regulations in your state. However, here are some reconstructive procedures that Medicaid commonly covers:

  • Cleft Lip and Palate Repair: Medicaid often covers surgical procedures to repair cleft lip and palate conditions in children and young adults to improve their speech, eating, and overall well-being.
  • Burn Reconstruction: Medicaid may provide coverage for reconstructive surgery for burn victims to restore function and improve the appearance of affected areas.
  • Breast Reconstruction: Similar to Medicare, Medicaid typically covers breast reconstruction surgery after a mastectomy due to breast cancer or other diseases.
  • Reconstructive Surgeries for Trauma or Deformities: Medicaid often covers reconstructive procedures to address physical trauma, deformities, or congenital abnormalities that affect function and quality of life.

Does Medicare cover plastic surgery?

Does Medicare cover plastic surgery? Benefits and Limitations for Reconstructive Procedures

Both Medicare and Medicaid provide crucial coverage for reconstructive surgeries, ensuring that individuals with medical needs can access these procedures. However, there are certain limitations associated with both programs. For Medicare, coverage for reconstructive surgeries may be subject to certain conditions and requirements, such as pre-authorization and medical necessity criteria. Additionally, Medicare coverage may only extend to certain types of reconstructive procedures, while others may not be covered.

Similarly, Medicaid coverage for reconstructive surgeries also has limitations. The coverage provided by Medicaid varies by state, and eligibility criteria may differ. This means that not all individuals who qualify for Medicaid in one state may receive the same coverage in another state. Additionally, Medicaid coverage may be subject to limitations on the types of reconstructive surgeries covered and the medical necessity criteria that need to be met.

Eligibility and Prior Authorization

Both Medicare and Medicaid may require prior authorization for reconstructive surgery procedures. It is crucial to consult with your healthcare provider and understand the specific requirements, documentation, and medical necessity criteria for coverage.


While Medicare and Medicaid primarily focus on providing coverage for medically necessary procedures, the coverage for reconstructive surgery varies based on individual circumstances and the specific programs’ guidelines. Medicare and Medicaid typically cover reconstructive procedures aimed at restoring function, correcting deformities, or improving health-related issues resulting from injury, disease, or congenital conditions.

Understanding the specific coverage policies, eligibility criteria, and prior authorization requirements in your state is crucial when considering reconstructive surgery under these healthcare programs. Always consult with healthcare professionals and insurance representatives to determine the extent of coverage and any potential out-of-pocket costs associated with reconstructive surgery.

It is important for individuals to understand the specific coverage available to them under these programs and consult with healthcare professionals and their state’s Medicaid program to ensure they have accurate information about their coverage options for reconstructive surgeries.


Q1: Does Medicare cover plastic surgery?

A1: Medicare typically does not cover cosmetic or elective plastic surgery procedures that are performed solely for aesthetic purposes. However, there are specific circumstances where Medicare may cover plastic surgery if it is deemed medically necessary and meets certain criteria.

Q2: What is considered medically necessary for Medicare to cover plastic surgery?

A2: Medicare may cover plastic surgery when it is considered medically necessary to correct or restore function or to treat a medical condition, injury, or disease. This includes reconstructive procedures following trauma, cancer surgery, or other medical treatments.

Q3: What types of reconstructive surgery does Medicare cover?

A3: Medicare covers various reconstructive procedures that aim to restore bodily function or address medical conditions. Examples include breast reconstruction after mastectomy, skin grafts for burn victims, and surgery to repair facial or body deformities caused by accidents or birth defects.

Q4: Does Medicare cover breast reconstruction after mastectomy?

A4: Yes, Medicare provides coverage for breast reconstruction surgery following a medically necessary mastectomy. This includes procedures to rebuild the breast mound and restore symmetry.

Q5: Are there any limitations or criteria for Medicare coverage of reconstructive surgery?

A5: Medicare coverage for reconstructive surgery has specific criteria that must be met. The surgery should be medically necessary, related to a covered condition or treatment, and performed by a qualified healthcare provider who accepts Medicare.

Q6: Does Medicaid cover plastic and reconstructive surgery?

A6: Medicaid coverage for plastic and reconstructive surgery varies by state. While Medicaid generally follows similar guidelines as Medicare, each state has its own specific rules and criteria. It’s important to check with your state’s Medicaid program for coverage details.

Q7: What factors determine Medicaid coverage for reconstructive surgery?

A7: Medicaid typically considers factors such as medical necessity, the severity of the condition, the impact on daily functioning, and the potential for improvement when determining coverage for reconstructive surgery.

Q8: What are some common reconstructive surgeries covered by Medicaid?

A8: Medicaid may cover a range of reconstructive surgeries, including cleft palate repair, burn reconstruction, hand or limb deformity correction, and surgical interventions for congenital abnormalities.

Q9: How can I find out if my specific reconstructive surgery is covered by Medicare or Medicaid?

A9: To determine coverage for a specific reconstructive surgery, it is advisable to consult with your healthcare provider and contact your Medicare or Medicaid program. They can provide information on the specific criteria, documentation requirements, and coverage details based on your unique circumstances.

Q10: Are there any additional options for financial assistance with reconstructive surgery?

A10: If Medicare or Medicaid does not cover a specific reconstructive surgery or if you are ineligible for coverage, you may explore other options. Some charitable organizations, foundations, or assistance programs provide financial support for reconstructive surgeries in certain cases.

It’s worth researching these resources or discussing potential options with your healthcare provider. Remember to consult with your healthcare provider and contact your specific Medicare or Medicaid program to obtain accurate and up-to-date information about coverage for plastic and reconstructive surgery.