Does Medicare Cover TB tests?

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 from 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.

Medicare Benefits Solutions

Jul 9, 2021

timer 3 minutes read

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: the more you know about health insurance, the more you’ll get from it. Test your knowledge and see how you score with our handy Medicare quiz.

Get easy-to-read, informative Medicare articles like this in your inbox every month.

Medicare Benefits Solutions is a non-government website. This is a solicitation for insurance. By submitting information on this site, I am providing my written consent for Medicare Benefits Solutions, herein after referred to as “Medicare Benefits”, which is a brand operated by HealthCompare 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 medicarebenefits.com/about-us/contact-us. Additional charges may apply to SMS, call, or Internet usage depending on your data providers.

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.

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

Got questions?

Call a licensed sales agent at

877-874-1499
or TTY 771

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

Send us a message

We aim to reply within 24 hours.



    Medicare Benefits Solutions is a non-government website. This is a solicitation for insurance. By submitting information on this site, I am providing my written consent for Medicare Benefits Solutions, herein after referred to as “Medicare Benefits”, which is a brand operated by HealthCompare 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 medicarebenefits.com/about-us/contact-us. Additional charges may apply to SMS, call, or Internet usage depending on your data providers.

    Find a plan

    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.

    Medicare Benefits Solutions is a non-government website. This is a solicitation for insurance. By submitting information on this site, I am providing my written consent for Medicare Benefits Solutions, herein after referred to as “Medicare Benefits”, which is a brand operated by HealthCompare 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 medicarebenefits.com/about-us/contact-us. Additional charges may apply to SMS, call, or Internet usage depending on your data providers.

    Find a new Medicare plan

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