Does Medicare Cover Pet Scans?

Our agents are here to help you: 1-888-264-0148

Start online

PET scans help detect cancer and other diseases, including those in the heart and brain. In most cases, Medicare does cover PET scans, as long as they are considered medically necessary. Here, we’ll look at the expenses you may have to pay out of pocket, as well as the basics of PET scans.

Understanding PET Scans

Positron emission tomography scans (PET scans) allow doctors to check for a number of diseases in your body. These include:

  • Cancer
  • Heart problems
  • Disorders of the brain
  • Central nervous system problems

With PET scans, patients are given a special dye, injected in their veins. Bodily organs absorb this dye. Then, when highlighted under a PET scan, these images reveal characteristics such as blood flow and oxygen use.

These important measures help physicians diagnose illnesses by providing a clear window into complex diseases, including: 

  • Coronary artery disease
  • Memory disorders
  • Brain tumors

Additionally, PET scans help your physician judge whether you have a cancer that has spread through your body and can even reveal how chemotherapy is affecting a tumor.


PET scans can cost in the thousands of dollars without insurance. If you have Medicare Part B, your PET scan will likely be covered. Medicare considers PET scans to be “diagnostic non-laboratory tests,” a category that also includes CT scans and MRIs.

However, even with Medicare coverage, your PET scan likely will not be free. Medicare Part B still requires beneficiaries to pay 20 percent of all Medicare-approved costs of these tests, and your Part B deductible must be paid before Medicare will cover its share. In 2017, the standard Part B deductible is $183 per year. 

Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) helps cover some of your Medicare out-of-pocket costs. To be eligible for Medigap, you must be enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B. You cannot enroll in a Medigap plan if you have Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C).

To learn which Medigap plans are available in your area, speak with a licensed agent at 888-264-0148.

What Else Does Medicare Cover?

Original Medicare covers a wide range of services and procedures. For a comprehensive list of covered health care services, read through our guide What Does Original Medicare Cover?



Resource Center

Top Trails For Baby Boomers

These trails from each state are perfect for Baby Boomers who want to get out and live happy and healthy lives.

Read More

Medicare Coverage for Male Sexual Health

Original Medicare covers penile implants under Medicare Part B. Learn what costs you may face, as well as what steps you'll need to take to get coverage.

Read More

Senate Recess Delayed as Health Care Vote Looms – July, 2017

Congress had its annual August recess delayed in order to buy more time for a vote on health care reform.

Read More

Understanding How Medicare Works

How does Medicare work? Here, we’ll review the basics of Medicare, including the coverage you’ll receive, and the costs you’re responsible for.

Read More

The Details About Trumpcare

You may have a basic understanding of Trumpcare. But what are the details of the new proposed health care bill?

Read More

Obamacare Taxes May Remain in New Health Care Bill

In an effort to compromise with Senate opposition, the new health care bill may retain some of the taxes imposed by Obamacare.

Read More

Medicare to Waive Late Enrollment Penalties for Some

Some Medicare beneficiaries will be released from late-enrollment penalties — are you one of them?

Read More

Does Medicare Cover COPD Treatments?

Medicare covers some COPD Treatments but not others. Read on to learn what COPD is, some common treatments and what Medicare covers.

Read More

How to Reduce Your Risk of Falls

A bad fall can put seniors at risk for serious injury and even death. Learn how to mitigate your risk of falling with this guide.

Read More

Your information is safe with us.

Our agents are here to help you1-888-264-0148