Does Medicare Cover Podiatry for Plantar Fasciitis?

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Russell Noga
by Russell Noga | Updated January 19th, 2024

Does Medicare cover podiatry for plantar fasciitis? Yes, treatments for plantar fasciitis are generally covered when deemed medically necessary by a healthcare provider.

In this article, we’ll clarify how Medicare handles such podiatry services, the conditions for coverage, and what costs you might expect.


Key Takeaways

  • Medicare provides coverage for a range of medically necessary podiatry services, including conservative treatments, corticosteroid injections, and potentially surgery for conditions like plantar fasciitis, usually requiring a doctor’s referral and diagnosis.
  • Medicare Advantage plans may offer enhanced benefits for podiatry services, potentially including routine foot care, custom orthotics, and reduced out-of-pocket expenses, but often come with network restrictions and may require referrals.
  • Understanding the costs associated with podiatry services under Medicare is important, with beneficiaries typically responsible for cost-sharing including deductibles and a 20% coinsurance after the deductible is met, with the possibility to offset costs through Medicare Supplement Plans.



Navigating Medicare Coverage for Plantar Fasciitis


Does Medicare Cover Podiatry for Plantar Fasciitis? Navigating Medicare Coverage for Plantar Fasciitis


Gaining clarity on Medicare coverage for plantar fasciitis is a process. Despite the complexities, it’s not an impossible task.

Medicare offers coverage for a wide range of podiatry services, especially those deemed medically necessary. This includes conservative treatments and corticosteroid injections for plantar fasciitis.

In certain cases, even advanced treatments like surgery may be covered if they are deemed medically necessary after a proper diagnosis.

Eligibility for this coverage hinges on fulfilling certain requirements. Notably, a doctor’s referral and diagnosis are indispensable for conditions like plantar fasciitis that warrant medically necessary treatments.

It’s also important to be aware that Medicare’s rules and regulations can be complex, which leads to confusion among beneficiaries. For example, understanding the coverage for heel spurs can be particularly challenging due to the intricate nature of Medicare’s rules.


Eligibility Criteria for Medicare Coverage

So, what exactly are the criteria for Medicare coverage of podiatry services? Medicare does cover podiatry services under Part B, particularly for conditions such as plantar fasciitis, provided that it is considered medically necessary.

This typically requires a doctor’s referral and a diagnosis of the condition.

Obtaining a doctor’s referral begins by scheduling an appointment with your primary care physician. Upon evaluation, your doctor may issue a referral to a specialized podiatrist if your condition, such as hammertoe, necessitates specialized podiatric care and surgery.


Types of Covered Treatments

Medicare extends coverage to an array of treatments for plantar fasciitis, from conservative interventions to corticosteroid injections and surgery if deemed medically necessary. Coverage also extends to podiatry services for severe diabetic foot disease, provided it is classified as medically necessary.

Podiatry services covered by Medicare encompass a wide range of treatments, including those tailored for medically necessary conditions such as plantar fasciitis. Medicare Part B provides coverage for certain podiatry care that is deemed medically necessary, such as the management of foot injuries or illnesses, including conditions like plantar fasciitis.


Cost-sharing Responsibilities

Medicare beneficiaries are accountable for cost-sharing, such as deductibles and coinsurance, for covered podiatry services. The present annual deductible for Medicare Part B coverage amounts to $240.

Upon meeting the annual deductible, beneficiaries are required to pay a 20 percent coinsurance, while Medicare covers 80 percent of the treatment expenses for Part B podiatry services. Furthermore, Medicare Supplement Plans (Medigap) provide coverage for podiatry costs if the services fall under Medicare Part B, potentially alleviating the impact on coinsurance and other out-of-pocket expenses.


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The Role of Medicare Advantage in Podiatry Care


Does Medicare Cover Podiatry for Plantar Fasciitis? The Role of Medicare Advantage in Podiatry Care


While Original Medicare provides a solid foundation of coverage for plantar fasciitis, there’s another option to consider – Medicare Advantage plans. These plans serve as a substitute for Original Medicare and may provide supplementary benefits for podiatry care, such as reduced out-of-pocket expenses and inclusion of routine foot care.

Medicare Advantage plans can potentially present a wider spectrum of foot care benefits compared to Medicare Part B, incorporating extra podiatry services that might be limited or excluded under Original Medicare. This expanded coverage can provide a more holistic approach to care for those needing podiatry services.

Certain Medicare Advantage Plans may provide supplementary benefits for podiatry care beyond what is included in Original Medicare, including routine foot care and an expanded array of podiatry services, potentially resulting in more comprehensive coverage for individuals requiring podiatry services.


Enhanced Benefits with Medicare Advantage

Medicare Advantage plans include:

  • Coverage provided by Original Medicare (Part A and Part B), encompassing essential podiatry services
  • Certain plans may extend coverage to over-the-counter orthotics or offer more comprehensive coverage for custom orthotics compared to Original Medicare
  • Benefits for foot wellness programs, which can provide support for maintaining healthy feet
  • Reduced out-of-pocket expenses for podiatry care



It is conceivable that Medicare Advantage plans may cover routine foot care for plantar fasciitis, however, beneficiaries should verify this with their plan provider beforehand. If included, this would represent a supplementary benefit offered by Medicare Advantage plans, as routine foot care is not generally covered by Original Medicare.


Choosing a Medicare Advantage Plan

When selecting a Medicare Advantage plan, it’s important to be aware of network restrictions. Medicare Advantage plans commonly impose network restrictions, mandating that beneficiaries seek podiatry care from doctors within the plan’s network.

Additionally, seeing a specialist may require a referral from a primary care physician. It is crucial to comprehend these restrictions to guarantee access to appropriate care and benefits.

When evaluating a Medicare Advantage Plan’s provision for podiatry services, it’s key to confirm that medically necessary podiatry services are included, such as foot examinations, X-rays, and vital treatments for foot and ankle conditions.

Moreover, it is advisable to examine whether the plan provides coverage for routine foot care in certain scenarios, such as diabetic foot care.


Out-of-Pocket Costs for Podiatry Services Under Medicare


Does Medicare Cover Podiatry for Plantar Fasciitis? Out-of-Pocket Costs for Podiatry Services Under Medicare


Recognizing the out-of-pocket expenses for podiatry services under Medicare is key to effective healthcare budgeting. Medicare beneficiaries are required to fulfill an annual deductible before receiving coverage for podiatry services.

Additionally, they are accountable for coinsurance, calculated as a percentage of the Medicare-approved amount, with payment limits established for certain services. In 2023, the annual deductible amounted to $226.

Medicare Part B provides coverage for:

  • 80 percent of the Medicare-approved amount for podiatric services once the deductible has been satisfied
  • a copayment if services are rendered in a hospital outpatient setting
  • up to 15% more than the Medicare approved amount if the podiatrist does not accept assignment.


Indeed, Medicare Supplement Plans (Medigap) provide coverage for podiatry costs if the services fall under Medicare Part B, potentially alleviating the impact on coinsurance and other out-of-pocket expenses. Understanding the expenses related to podiatry services, such as deductibles, coinsurance, and coverage percentages, is crucial for efficient healthcare financial planning.


Understanding Your Deductible

The deductible within the context of Medicare coverage signifies the yearly sum that a recipient needs to personally cover for eligible services before Medicare commences its payments. For instance, the annual deductible for Medicare Part B will be $240 in 2024.

The Medicare deductible resets annually on January 1. Costs for eligible podiatry services are part of the expenses that contribute to fulfilling the Medicare deductible.

Once the annual deductible threshold, set at $240 in 2024, is reached, Medicare commences coverage of its share of the expenses for these services.


Coinsurance and Payment Caps

Medicare coinsurance refers to the portion of the medical expenses that an individual is responsible for paying after meeting their deductibles.

In the context of Medicare coverage for plantar fasciitis, coinsurance operates such that Medicare typically covers 80% of the Medicare-approved cost for treatment following the fulfillment of your deductible.

Beneficiaries are typically responsible for paying 20 percent of the Medicare-approved amount for plantar fasciitis treatment. Payment limitations may not be imposed for Medicare-covered podiatry services, however, coverage is restricted to medically necessary services.

Patients are responsible for paying 20% of the bill and any additional costs up to the payment cap after meeting the annual Part B deductible for covered services.

When Medicare Does Not Cover Podiatry Services


Does Medicare Cover Podiatry for Plantar Fasciitis? When Medicare Does Not Cover Podiatry Services


While Medicare offers broad coverage for numerous health services, it should be noted that it doesn’t cover all podiatry services. Medicare does not cover services like cutting or removing corns and calluses, trimming nails, or soaking feet for hygienic maintenance.

These services are considered routine foot care and are not included in Medicare coverage for foot care services. However, it is essential to inquire if Medicare cover hammertoe surgery, as this may vary depending on individual circumstances.

The principle of medical necessity plays a crucial role in determining Medicare coverage for podiatry. It requires that treatments or procedures, including medically necessary treatment, be deemed medically necessary by a healthcare provider in order to be eligible for coverage under Medicare.

In situations where Medicare does not cover specific podiatry services, beneficiaries have the option to explore alternative coverage options such as:

  • Private insurance plans
  • Medicare Advantage plans that may include routine services
  • Medigap plans to assist with covering costs that are not included in the original Medicare coverage.



Exclusions in Medicare Coverage

Medicare coverage for podiatry services excludes routine foot care, which is typically expected to be performed by the patient or caregiver, and certain orthotics. Unfortunately, cosmetic podiatry procedures are not covered by Medicare as they are considered exclusions.

Although routine foot care is typically excluded from Medicare coverage, there may be specific indications or exceptions under certain circumstances where Medicare might provide coverage for Medicare cover treatment.


Seeking Alternative Coverage Options

Medicare Part B typically provides coverage for medically necessary podiatry services, including medicare cover bunion surgery, with the exception of routine foot care. On the other hand, private insurance coverage for podiatric treatments can differ based on the specific plan, potentially providing more extensive options for foot care.

Indeed, there are insurance plans tailored to cover podiatry services. Health insurance plans commonly incorporate podiatry services when deemed medically necessary, and there are supplementary Medicare plans intended to provide extra coverage.

Certain providers, such as SCAN, may extend coverage to routine podiatry services not encompassed in original Medicare cover podiatry.


Does Medicare Cover Podiatry for Plantar Fasciitis?


Working with Your Healthcare Provider for Covered Services

Collaborating with your healthcare provider is vital to ensure that your podiatry services get covered. Some Medicare Part C plans mandate a referral from your primary care provider to access specialist services.

Nevertheless, with original Medicare, a referral from your primary care doctor is not necessary to consult a podiatrist for plantar fasciitis.

When a podiatrist accepts Medicare assignment, they are agreeing to abide by the payment terms of Medicare and will not exceed the Medicare-approved fee for treating plantar fasciitis.

It is essential for a podiatrist to accept Medicare assignment as it signifies their agreement to charge no more than the approved amount for plantar fasciitis treatment by Medicare, thereby relieving you from any excess charges.

One recommended method for verifying if a podiatrist accepts Medicare assignment is by utilizing Medicare’s Care Compare website. You can follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Medicare Care Compare website.
  2. Select ‘Doctors & clinicians’ under the Provider Type dropdown menu.
  3. Enter your location or the name of the podiatrist.
  4. Look for providers that charge the Medicare-approved amount.


Alternatively, you can directly contact the podiatrist’s office for this information.


Getting a Referral from Your Doctor

In general, Medicare does not mandate referrals, but there are specific circumstances where a referral from your primary care provider may be necessary. In order to obtain a referral for podiatry services through Medicare, it is recommended to request a referral from your primary care physician to see a specialist podiatrist.

Medicare does provide coverage for podiatry services, however, specific conditions and eligibility criteria must be satisfied in order to qualify for this coverage. In the case of original Medicare including Part B, there is no obligation to obtain a referral from the primary care physician for specialist visits.

Nevertheless, individuals with specific Medicare Advantage plans may necessitate a formal referral documentation. The regulations concerning this requirement differ across plans.


Doctor Services and Medicare Assignment

When a doctor accepts Medicare assignment, it indicates their agreement to the payment terms of Medicare and their willingness to accept Medicare’s approved fee as full payment for the services they render.

When a podiatrist accepts Medicare assignment, the patient gains benefits such as coverage for medically necessary foot care, including treatment for injury, exams, deformities, diseases, and diabetic foot exams.

Patients can utilize the Care Compare tool on to ascertain if a podiatrist accepts Medicare assignment. If a podiatrist opts not to accept Medicare assignment, they have the option to charge up to 15% more than the Medicare approved amount.

Indeed, a podiatrist has the ability to modify their decision regarding accepting Medicare assignment.

How to Appeal a Medicare Decision

Occasionally, even with diligent effort, Medicare might refuse coverage for your podiatry services. But don’t despair!

There’s a process established that permits you to contest Medicare decisions. To initiate the appeal process, it is advisable to adhere to the appeal instructions provided on your Medicare Summary Notice (MSN).

This involves identifying the denied service by circling it as indicated.

In order to appeal a Medicare decision, it is recommended to review your Medicare notices to understand the reasons for the denial of your care, and to utilize the Medicare Redetermination Request (CMS-20027) or any written document that encompasses all the necessary appeal elements. The typical processing time for a Medicare appeal is approximately 60 days.


Understanding the Appeals Process

The appeal process for Medicare coverage decisions incorporates five stages:

  1. Level 1 involves Your Health Plan
  2. Level 2 engages Independent Review Entity (IRE)
  3. Level 3 involves an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)
  4. Level 4 involves the Medicare Appeals Council
  5. Level 5 involves the Federal District Court


The Medicare appeals process generally takes approximately 60 days to complete.

Common factors leading to Medicare beneficiaries challenging coverage decisions include refusals of coverage for specific medical treatments or services, disagreements regarding the extent of Medicare coverage, and controversies concerning the essentiality of a particular treatment or service.

The documentation required for a Medicare appeal includes personal information such as your name, address, and Medicare number, details about the items or services being appealed, the dates of service, the reasons for the appeal, and the name of your appointed representative, if applicable.

Additionally, it is crucial to include your Medicare number on all submitted documents related to the appeal request.


Preparing for an Appeal

While preparing for a Medicare appeal, it’s important to gather the Medicare Summary Notice (MSN) highlighting the service denied, relevant medical records, and any required appeal forms.

Medical records should be utilized as evidence, demonstrating the medical necessity of the services or treatments under appeal. The accurate and prompt submission of these records is of utmost importance.

When drafting an effective Medicare appeal letter, it is crucial to include the specific service or item being appealed, the denial date, and any supporting documentation.

Furthermore, providing background on the client’s health status prior to the injury or illness can aid in contextualizing the appeal. Utilizing available examples and templates can assist in structuring the letter.

A physician’s recommendation plays a crucial role in strengthening a Medicare appeal by offering expert evidence to support the medical necessity of a requested item or service. This professional opinion adds substantial weight to the claim.


In conclusion, understanding Medicare’s coverage for podiatry services, particularly for plantar fasciitis, is crucial for beneficiaries.

From knowing the basics of eligibility and types of covered treatments to understanding the role of Medicare Advantage and the potential out-of-pocket costs, there’s a lot to navigate.

But with careful planning and working closely with your healthcare provider, you can ensure that your podiatry services are covered and that your feet are well taken care of.


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Frequently Asked Questions


  Does Medicare cover podiatry for foot pain?

Yes, Medicare covers podiatry services for medically necessary treatment of foot injuries, diseases, or other medical conditions affecting the foot, ankle, or lower leg. Routine foot care services like cutting nails, corns, or calluses are typically not covered.


  Does Medicare pay for podiatrists to cut toenails?

No, Medicare does not pay for a podiatrist to cut toenails in a healthy individual. This service is not covered by Medicare.


  What are the cost-sharing responsibilities for Medicare beneficiaries regarding covered podiatry services?

Medicare beneficiaries are responsible for cost-sharing, including deductibles and coinsurance, for covered podiatry services.


  What podiatry services are excluded from Medicare coverage?

Podiatry services like routine foot care, cutting or removal of corns and calluses, nail trimming, and hygienic maintenance are excluded from Medicare coverage. These services are not covered under Medicare.


  What is the process for appealing a Medicare decision regarding podiatry services?

To appeal a Medicare decision regarding podiatry services, follow the instructions provided on your Medicare Summary Notice (MSN) and identify the denied service by circling it as indicated. This will initiate the appeal process and allow you to challenge the decision.

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