Keeping your feet and lower legs healthy can be a challenge as you age, especially if you have diabetes, and can impact your overall health and quality of life. A podiatrist is a doctor who specializes in foot care and can treat various injuries and illnesses. But how can you find a podiatrist near you who also takes Medicare, and what does Medicare cover when it comes to foot care? Let’s find the answer together.
What is a podiatrist?
A podiatrist is a doctor who specializes in caring for the feet and ankles. Sometimes they’re called a podiatric physician or a doctor of podiatric medicine. Podiatrists can do surgery, reset broken bones and treat complications related to diseases, such as diabetes.
Is a podiatrist covered by Medicare?
Yes, Medicare will cover care provided by a podiatrist. Specifically, Part B covers exams and treatment of the feet, ankles and lower legs, if:
- You have diabetes-related nerve damage.
- Need medically necessary treatment for foot injuries or diseases, like hammertoe, heel spurs or bunions.
Medicare also allows podiatrists to order or prescribe x-rays, laboratory tests, physical therapy, durable medical equipment and prescription drugs.
After you meet your Part B deductible, you pay 20 percent of the Medicare-Approved Amount for treatment. If you get podiatry services in a hospital outpatient setting, you also pay a copayment.
If you have diabetes-related lower leg nerve damage that could cause you to lose a limb, Medicare covers foot exams once a year, if you haven’t seen a foot-care professional for another reason between visits. Diabetes-related foot care may include treatment of foot ulcers, calluses and toenail management depending on your needs.
Part B also will cover therapeutic shoes if you have diabetes and severe diabetic foot disease.
Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans also cover podiatry services, but you’ll want to make sure your provider is in your plan’s network for the services to be covered.
Does Medicare pay for a podiatrist to cut toenails?
Generally speaking, Medicare won’t pay for a podiatrist to cut your toenails because the service is considered routine foot care that Part B doesn’t cover. Routine foot care also includes removing corns and calluses and hygienic or preventative care, such as soaking feet.
But there are exceptions to the rule. Part B will cover routine foot care, including nail trimming, when it is:
- For the treatment of warts.
- For the treatment of infected toenails.
- A necessary part of other services, such as treatment of ulcers and wounds.
- When the patient has a systemic disease, and routine foot care by a nonprofessional would put the patient at risk.
If you have a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan, check to see if it includes routine foot care as an extra benefit. If not, the Part B coverage rules will apply.
Does Medicare cover podiatry for foot pain?
Yes, Medicare covers podiatry services that are reasonable and medically necessary for treating foot pain. This includes pain due to injury or illness, including nerve damage from diabetes.
Is a podiatrist covered under Medicare part B?
As discussed above, Medicare Part B covers podiatry services. After meeting your $233 annual deductible, you will pay 20 percent of the cost of covered podiatry services. Remember, Part B generally doesn’t cover routine foot care, including nail trimming, so, if you get those services, you will have to pay the cost yourself.
How can I find a Medicare podiatrist near me?
There are many ways to find a Medicare podiatrist with an office near you. The provider finder at Medicare.gov/care-compare allows you to search for Medicare podiatrists anywhere in the country. Also, if you have a Medicare Advantage Plan, you can check your plan’s network for podiatrists near you.
Another option is to talk to your primary care physician, who knows you and your medical issues and can refer you to a nearby podiatrist who accepts Medicare patients.
Where can I find a primary care physician who accepts Medicare patients?
Primary care doctors help their patients manage their health, including chronic illnesses, and are a doorway to specialized care, such as podiatry.
NewPrimaryCare.com™ can help you find a quality primary care doctor near you. Our partner providers practice value-based care, meaning Medicare rewards them for helping patients get better.
With a value-based care doctor, you can expect quicker appointment scheduling, shorter waits at the doctor’s office and a meaningful connection with your physician. Your doctor will take time to get to know you and your unique needs.
Use our Find Your Doctor tool to search for and compare value-based care providers near you.