Does Medicare Cover TB tests?

Health Compare

Health Compare
Jul 9, 2021

TB was once considered a rarity in developed countries. However, it is still a concern for the following reasons:

  • People with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV, are at high risk of exposure to TB germs.
  • Many strains of TB are drug-resistant.
  • Averting antibiotic resistance and eradicating TB infection requires taking multiple medications for the long term.

TIP: Did you know that you can use our plan finder to discover Medicare plans that include more of the diagnostic and testing services you need? Or, call today to speak with a Licensed Sales Agent who can answer your Medicare questions: 877-882-1927.

What is Tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease caused by bacteria known as Mycobacterium tuberculosis. If an infected person coughs or sneezes, and the bacteria spreads to other people, the consequences can be serious.

This may have you wondering if Medicare covers the costs of a TB test.

Medicare Benefits for TB Testing

According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), “Medicare Part B, which includes a variety of outpatient services, covers medically necessary clinical diagnostic tests when a doctor or other practitioner orders them.”

Medicare benefits cover laboratory tests under Part B if performed in a lab that satisfies Medicare requirements. If approved by Medicare, you would not typically have to pay anything for these tests.

  • Clinical – certain tests, including some screenings, using samples of blood, urine and tissue
  • Diagnostic – tests to uncover or rule out suspect disorders, and some screenings and preventive tests

Medicare benefits for non-laboratory tests, including X-rays and other diagnostic testing, are covered under Part B as well.

Out-of-pocket costs non-lab tests:

  • 20% coinsurance
  • Part B deductible
  • Copayment to hospital outpatient facility, if applicable

TIP: Understand the most common reasons why people change their Medicare plan.

Find a new Medicare plan

Get recommendations based on what's important to you, and compare them to your existing plan.

Two Types of Tuberculosis

Here is a brief outline to explain how physicians categorize TB.

Latent Tuberculosis:

  • TB infection
  • Inactive bacteria
  • No symptoms
  • Not contagious

Active Tuberculosis:

  • TB disease
  • Feel sick
  • Potentially contagious

It’s important to note that latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) can become active, so you still need to be treated. Active TB can surface weeks or years after you are infected by TB bacteria.

Types of TB Tests

Your doctor will determine which of the two types of TB tests are appropriate for suspected TB infection:

  • Mantoux tuberculin skin test (TST): Fluid is injected into the skin, and your skin’s reaction is examined by a trained professional.
  • Blood test: QuantiFERON®-TB Gold Plus and T-SPOT® are approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA).

If you have a positive test result, your doctor will order additional testing, which will likely include a chest X-ray.

TIP: Find out which plans offer the best coverage for TB testing and other diagnostic services.

Who Should Get Tested for TB?

TB tests are generally not necessary if your risk of being infected with TB bacteria is low, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Many people who have latent TB infection never develop TB disease.”

Some people are at a higher risk of infection than others. The CDC recommends that you get tested if you:

  • Are exposed to high-risk adults or people who have TB disease
  • Came from a country where TB disease is not uncommon, such as Latin America, Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Russia and Eastern Europe
  • Reside or work in certain settings, such as a prison, long-term care center, nursing home or shelter
  • Are employed as a health-care practitioner caring for high-risk patients

TIP: Learn all about your Medicare options and choose how to receive your benefits.

Got questions?

Call a licensed sales agent at

877-406-1753 or TTY 711

Mon to Fri 5 am – 6 pm PST | Sat 6 am – 5 pm PST | Sun closed

We have more than 300 dedicated and licensed sales agents on hand to help you through every step on the journey to the right Medicare plan for you.

Whether you’re new to Medicare or someone experienced in choosing a plan, our supportive, knowledgeable team can help.

Find a plan

Get plan recommendations

Compare your current Medicare plan to our recommendations – then choose the plan that gives you more of the things you want.

Get informative, easy to read health, lifestyle and Medicare articles. Subscribe to our free monthly newsletter.

Health Compare is a non-government website. This is a solicitation for insurance. By submitting information on this site, I am providing my written consent for Health Compare, herein after referred to as "Health Compare", which is a brand operated by Health Compare Insurance Services Inc., its sales agents, or affiliates to contact me (even if I’m on a state or national do not call registry) at the phone number or email address listed to provide me with quotes or information about Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, and Medicare Part D plans. I further consent to such calls or texts sent via autodialer, automated technology, prerecorded message and/or artificial voice. I understand my consent is not a condition of purchase and that I can revoke my consent at any time via Additional charges may apply to SMS, call, or Internet usage depending on your data providers.

Find a new Medicare plan

Click here to find out more

Get a plan recommendation based on what's important to you.