Does Medicare Cover Physical Therapy?

Learn if Original Medicare covers physical therapy.

by Amy De Vore+ on Apr 02, 2018 | 23 Comments

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Physical Therapy is an alternative treatment before and after surgery to help heal and prevent further injury, as well as care after a serious illness such as a stroke. Physical therapy costs can really add up, especially if you need care for a long period of time. So does Medicare cover it and how much does it cover?

Does Medicare Cover Physical Therapy?

Yes. At one time there was a maximum payout for physical therapy but it was removed by Congress for 2018. There is no specific limit on the number of physical therapy visits you can receive in a calendar year but if your total costs exceed $2010, the Center for Medicare Services (CMS) will need to authorize that the services are reasonable and medically necessary.

You are still responsible for your Medicare Part B deductible, your 20% coinsurance and any excess charges. 

Does Medigap Cover Physical Therapy?

All Medigap plans pay for all or part of your physical therapy coinsurance and copays, however only Medigap Plans C and F cover your Part B deductible. Plan F and Plan G will cover all excess charges as well.

Learn More about Medigap Get a Medigap Quote Apply for Medigap

Does Medicare Advantage Cover Physical Therapy?

Medicare Advantage (MA) does cover physical therapy. However, since MA plans are not standardized each plan can cover it differently.

Learn More about Medicare Advantage Get a Medicare Advantage Quote

For further questions call a Senior65 agent at 800-930-7956 or click here to read our article Does Medicare cover Chiropractic and Acupuncture?

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Reader Comments and Questions

By Rita on August 08, 2019

Does Medicare cover mileage to go for physical therapy

Medicare generally does not cover transportation for physical therapy.
-Chris from

By SUSAN on June 06, 2019

i would like to know how much time is the pt required to spend with you each visit when it has been approved by medicare.

You will have to check with the Center for Medicare Services (CMS) directly to find out how much time each PT appointment should be.

There is no specific limit on the number of physical therapy visits you can receive in a calendar year but if your total costs exceed $2010, the CMS will need to authorize that the services are reasonable and medically necessary.

You will still be required to pay the part B deductible, 20% of the office visits and 100% of any excess charges. Medigap plans can cover some or all of those costs. Give us a call and we can get you enrolled at no cost to you.
-Michelle from

By Margaret on November 14, 2018

I had knee replacement surgery on Sept. 26th and have been going to physical therapy since 3 weeks later..I have Tufts Med. Preffered and regular Med.part A and Part B and was wondering how long my physical therapy will be covered..I do pay a co-payment when I go for my treatment. I go twice a week.

Sounds like you have a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan. Since each (MA) plan offers different coverage you will want to cover you insurance company directly.

Should you ever be interested in switching plan, the team at Senior65 could help you.
-Michelle at

By Travis on November 05, 2018

Is there a difference between Medicare and Medicare Advantage on rehab. I was told by my therapist I must show improvement every ten visits for Medicare to pay and that Medicare Advantage did not have this requirement.

Yes, there can be a difference between Medicare and Medicare Advantage (MA) on who they handle physical therapy. Each MA plan is able to handle benefits slightly differently. Many MA plans, however, have adopted the same requirements for physical therapy as Medicare.
-Michelle from

By Suzanne on April 26, 2018

My husband broke his hand and had surgery wto replace a broken bone PT was requested has been gling but was advised at his visit yesterday that medicare will no longer pay. His secondary is tricare for life. What does he have to do to continue PY.

Tricare is manage via the Veterans Administration. You will want to contact the VA directly at 1-877-222-VETS (8387).
-Eric at

By Laffy on July 17, 2017

I wrote last week to ask if medicare approved chiropractic referrals foe physical therapy. I never had a reply.

Generally speaking, physical therapy needs to be referred by a doctor of medicine. However, as always, we suggest contacting Medicare to find out how and if a service is covered. Best of luck!
-Amy from

By Sharon DelPinto on March 12, 2017

If I met my deductible for part b can a physical therapist charge me a co payment. I only have original Medicare and am 65 on ssd.

Yes, your physical therapist can require a copayment and/or coinsurance. You will want to speak to Medicare and your physical therapist to see what you'll owe.
-Amy from

By Sharon Mcilwain on February 27, 2017

I have degenerative disc disease and spondylitis Bulging discs causing pinched nerves with numbness in my feet. According to recent MRI. I. Having PT now which is helping slowly . Also aqua therapy, in May I am getting a knee replacement. Will my Medicare and supplement pay for this. Thanks for any help with this

Without knowing which Medicare Supplement plan you are enrolled in, we couldn't say how your plan would cover you; however here's a Medigap comparison chart to see how each lettered plan fills in the gaps of Original Medicare. To confirm if/how your physical therapy, aqua therapy, and knee replacement are covered by Medicare, you'll want to call them directly.
-Amy from

By Bill on January 13, 2017

Is PT given by doctor of chiropractory covered under medicare?

If your chiropractor is also a licensed physical therapist that accepts Medicare assignment, you should be fine. You will want to speak with Medicare and your physical therapist to confirm.
-Amy from

By Strephon Johnson on December 09, 2016

My wife's referral notes "Diagnosis: Dementia without behavioral disturbance, unspecified dementia type". She is 75 years old. Would the specialist's charges be covered by her Medicare? S. Johnson

S. Johnson,
As long as your wife's specialist accepts Medicare-assignment she should be covered. For specific Medicare questions about coverage, we suggest you contact them directly.
-Michelle from

By Carolyn Walton Gibson on October 31, 2016

My doctor referred me to a physical therapist. Will my Medicare Advantage plan cover the costs of my physical therapist visits?

Your Medicare Advantage plan most likely will not cover all of your physical therapy costs, you might have a copay, coinsurance, and/or a deductible that you'll owe. You will want to check with your provider to see how exactly they cover your costs.
-Amy from

By Saundra on September 30, 2016

I had an attack of full blown vertigo and in the interim I lost a nerve that affected my balance from my right ear. I am going to vestibular rehab therapy that my ENT Dr sent me to but it is so far. By the time I get there I am exhausted and after therapy the drive home is tiring. Can I change and continue my therapy at another therapist that is much closer to my home that provides the same services or do I have to remain where I am going currently. I have had only 3 visits and was told i would need at least 18. I have medicare B and supplemental uns with Anthem Blue Cross blue Shield. thank you

With Medicare and Medicare Supplement, you do not need a referral to see a doctor/specialist. So feel free to see a doctor closer to home. For the limited visits, you will want to ask your doctor to write a letter to Medicare requesting the extend your cap on coverage. Hope this helps!
-Amy from

By Cathy Rierson on September 16, 2016

My doctor my severe ankle pain as posterior tibial tendinitis and told me to get orthotics. They cost $600, and are not covered by any insurance. He also wrote a prescription for physical therapy 2/3 times per week for 4 weeks. I have Medicare part A and B and have only been on it for about a year. I also have a supplemental insurance. Will the physical therapy be covered?

Thank you for your question. Yes, physical therapy is covered by both Medicare and Medigap. In the above article it explains the cap on coverage.

If you need help finding another Medigap plan, please contact one of our Senior65 licensed independent insurance agents at 800-930-7956.
-Amy from

By kathie garton on August 23, 2016

do i qualify or outpatient pt under medicare part b if i received outparient pt billed under blue cross? i had a stroke a year ago

If you are enrolled in Medicare Part B, physical therapy is covered with the cap listed in the above article. If you are interested in enrolling in a Medigap or a Medicare Advantage plan to help lower your out of pocket costs, call one of our Senior65 licensed independent insurance agents at 800-930-7956.
-Eric from

By Debra on May 25, 2016

I have MS and standard Medicare but need PT/$100/hr ... would a sup plan help me pay for PT?

Medicare Supplement (Medigap plans) can pay all or part of your physical therapy costs, up to the Medicare cap (listed above in the article). For help finding a Medigap plan in your area, call one of our Senior65 licensed independent insurance agents at 800-930-7956.
-Michelle from

By Patricia A. Stepken on March 08, 2016

Good morning, I have Fed Blue Cross/Blue Shield coverage which does not cover my co-pays. Due to several falls I was receiving pt for balance issues. My co-pay is $35.00 per visit. I discontinued therapy before i reached the prescribed number of visits because i am retired and on fixed income and cannot afford pt co-pay. i am 71 years old. will medicare cover my co-pays and will there be consequences for discontinuing therapy without dr release and/or pt release? thank you for your attention to these questions.

We would need a little more information to answer your questions. But I will tell you that Original Medicare does not cover copays. If you are interested in a plan that does, you may want to consider a Medigap policy.

The only consequence I can think of if you were to quit going to physical therapy is you won't get better.

Due to the specificity of your question, we suggest you call one of our independent licensed insurance agents at 800-930-7956.
-Chris from

By Ginger on January 11, 2016

MY husband had a stroke last year and has received outpatient PHYSICAL, SPEECH AND OT Therapy 3 times a weeks since July. We had to go on medicare this year. Can you tell me does the plan F cover above the medicare gap or do they just pay the deductible and co-pay?

Plan F only fills in the gaps of Original Medicare for Speech, Physical, and Occupational Therapy. We know it can feel discouraging because their is a cap in coverage for these treatments, but if deemed medically necessary Medicare can continue coverage. Hope thi helps.
-Amy from

By jack hollister on December 27, 2015

What medicare supplemental insurance plan does not have a copay for physical therapy?

Here is a chart of Medicare Supplement plans, so that you can compare which ones cover your Part B copays and coinsurance.
-Chris from

By Gladys Cobb on December 27, 2015

Will any Medical plan pay for 'in-water physical therapy'? - without a high co-pay. My Neurologist recommends in-water therapy, however at a $45. Co-pay I cannot afford it. I am in pain everyday.

Thank you for your question. Original Medicare will always have coinsurance or a copay for physical therapy until you reach their cap. Now, if you were to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan that covers your Part B coinsurance and copays, you should be covered, with no out of pocket costs, for physical water therapy, as long as it is approved by Original Medicare.
-Eric from

By David Stiles on December 21, 2015

I have Medicare Original and supplemental B coverage. If my primary doctor refers me to a physical therapist for exercise therapy for pulled muscles/ligaments in my lower back, would Medicare approve this automatically, and would they pay 80% of the cost up to a certain point?

You will want to check with CMS to see if that would be approved, as Medicare deems what is allowable for physical therapy. If they did approve you, they would pay 80% after you meet your deductible, and up to the physical therapy cap.
-Jacima from

By Cathy Rich on July 16, 2015

I have a degenerative disc on the right side of my back. What do you think is better: physical therapy, chiropractic, or acupuncture? And, which one will Medicare cover the most costs of?

Thank you for your question. Medicare covers medically necessary chiropractic spinal manipulations, it covers physical therapy (to a cap), and it does NOT cover acupuncture. We suggest speaking with your primary doctor about which treatment is best for you.
-Amy from

By Trent on July 09, 2015

How much will I pay with Medicare Advantage for physical therapy? I know you say it varies but can you give me an idea..

Great question. Unfortunately, we don't have a great answer. Since Medicare Advantage are not standardized, each plan can choose to cover your medical services differently. If you call us at 800-930-7956, we'd be happy to help you find quotes for Medicare Advantage costs for physical therapy services.
-Eric from

By William king on June 30, 2015

How much will I pay for physical therapy since I have Medigap N? Only at cap. I don't think I meet the extended care.

Good question. If you do not exceed the initial Medicare physical therapy cap, Medigap Plan N requires you to pay your Part B deductible, but you shouldn't have any other out of pocket costs. Hope this helps.
-Eric from

PLEASE NOTE: We cannot comment on specific Medicare claims. Contact Medicare directly if you are trying to see if your issue is covered.

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