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Does Medicare Cover Cancer Screening Tests for Females?

Medicare Bob
Medicare may cover cancer screening tests for people battling breast, cervical and vaginal cancers.
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Women are most often affected by breast, colorectal, endometrial, lung, cervical, skin and ovarian cancers. Arming yourself with knowledge can help you live a longer, healthier life.

Cancer risk increases with age, and most Medicare beneficiaries qualify for cancer screenings. Let’s find out who qualifies for these important, life-saving screenings.

FAQs for Cancer Screening Tests

When should I get cancer screenings?

You should only get cancer screenings when you display no symptoms. Otherwise, it’s considered a diagnostic test, not a screening.

Why is it a good idea to screen for cancer?

Cancer screening is a good idea for several reasons:

Does Medicare cover cancer screenings?

Medicare may cover cancer screenings at no cost, with restrictions based on age and frequency.

Breast Cancer Screenings

Breast cancer is the second-most common cancer for women in the U.S. The National Institute of Health (NIH) recommends mammograms to reduce breast cancer deaths, especially for women ages 50 to 69.

To test for breast cancer, you can get annual mammogram screenings. Medicare Part B covers a baseline "once-in-your-lifetime" mammogram for women between the ages of 35-39. Women over age 40 may have a mammogram screening every 12 months. You pay nothing for this breast cancer screening if your doctor accepts Medicare.

Medicare also covers breast exams to check for breast cancer every 24 months.

Women with breast cancer symptoms, such as swelling or lump(s), may have a diagnostic mammogram when medically ordered by their doctor. In this case, you pay the Part B deductible and 20% of the Medicare-approved amount.

Cervical & Vaginal Cancer Screenings

In 2022, the American Cancer Society estimated the following:

  • 14,100 new cases of invasive (spreading) cervical cancer will be diagnosed

  • 4,280 women will die from cervical cancer

Females can get Pap and HPV tests to screen for and prevent cervical and vaginal cancers.

  • Pap test, also called a Pap smear, collects cervical cells to test for cancer and other medical conditions.

  • The human papillomavirus (HPV) test checks cells for infection of high-risk HPV that can cause cervical cancer.

Medicare Part B covers Pap tests and pelvic exams to check for cervical and vaginal cancers. Generally, Medicare covers these cancer screening tests for females every 24 months.

Beneficiaries at high risk or at child-bearing age with an abnormal Pap test in the past 36 months may be tested once every 12 months. As part of a Pap test, Medicare Part B may also cover HPV tests once every five years if you are between the ages of 30 and 65.

If you have questions about Medicare coverage, please call the licensed agents at Senior Healthcare Direct at 1-833-463-3262, TTY 711 or get your quote.

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LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The above is meant to be strictly educational and not intended to provide medical advice or solicit the sales of an insurance product or service of any kind.

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