Does Medicare cover YAG Laser Capsulotomy?

Original Medicare will cover YAG laser capsulotomy — a follow-up procedure to correct a complication of previous cataract surgery. YAG laser capsulotomy is usually performed in an outpatient facility and typically covered by Medicare Part B.

Terry Turner, writer and researcher for RetireGuide
  • Written by
    Terry Turner

    Terry Turner

    Senior Financial Writer and Financial Wellness Facilitator

    Terry Turner has more than 35 years of journalism experience, including covering benefits, spending and congressional action on federal programs such as Social Security and Medicare. He is a Certified Financial Wellness Facilitator through the National Wellness Institute and the Foundation for Financial Wellness and a member of the Association for Financial Counseling & Planning Education (AFCPE®).

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    Lee Williams
    Lee Williams, senior editor for

    Lee Williams

    Senior Financial Editor

    Lee Williams is a professional writer, editor and content strategist with 10 years of professional experience working for global and nationally recognized brands. He has contributed to Forbes, The Huffington Post, SUCCESS Magazine,, Electric Literature and The Wall Street Journal. His career also includes ghostwriting for Fortune 500 CEOs and published authors.

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    Aflak Chowdhury
    Aflak Chowdhury

    Aflak Chowdhury

    Medicare Expert

    Aflak Chowdhury is a Medicare expert and independent insurance broker specializing in group health insurance. He has worked for major providers including Humana and Principal Financial Group and today works mainly in the small group market.

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  • Published: May 19, 2021
  • Updated: October 20, 2023
  • 4 min read time
  • This page features 8 Cited Research Articles
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A licensed insurance professional reviewed this page for accuracy and compliance with the CMS Medicare Communications and Marketing Guidelines (MCMGs) and Medicare Advantage (MA/MAPD) and/or Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (PDP) carriers’ guidelines.

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APA Turner, T. (2023, October 20). Does Medicare cover YAG Laser Capsulotomy? Retrieved July 15, 2024, from

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Chicago Turner, Terry. "Does Medicare cover YAG Laser Capsulotomy?" Last modified October 20, 2023.

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YAG Laser Caps Coverage at a Glance
Medicare PlanYAG Laser Caps Coverage
Part A (Inpatient) N/A
Part B (Outpatient)Covers 80% of the cost of YAG laser capsulotomy after you have reached your Part B deductible.
Part C (Medicare Advantage)Coverage mirrors Part B. Select plans may offer additional benefits.
Part D (Prescription Drugs)N/A
Supplemental InsuranceCan help cover out-of-pocket costs of YAG laser capsulotomies. Coverage varies by plan.

Medicare Coverage for YAG Laser Capsulotomy

Medicare covers YAG laser capsulotomy if your doctor deems it medically necessary. Medicare pays 80% of the costs for the procedure after you pay your Part B deductible. Coverage includes exams, medication, and a year of follow-up care.

YAG laser capsulotomy procedures are typically done in a hospital outpatient department or an ambulatory surgical center. This is why Medicare Part B medical insurance rules apply to the procedure.

Medicare Part B covers related services, including:
  • Diagnostic examinations or tests
  • Medications administered during the procedure
  • Supplies and surgical services necessary for the procedure
  • The YAG laser treatment itself

Your doctor must deem YAG laser capsulotomy a medically necessary procedure before Medicare will pay for it. Necessity is generally based on your report of reduced vision quality and an exam showing reduced sharpness or clarity in your vision after having cataract surgery.

Original Medicare’s vision coverage is limited. It does not pay for regular eyeglasses or contact lenses or for routine eye exams.

But it does cover traditional or laser cataract surgery. By extension, it covers YAG laser capsulotomy because it is a follow-up procedure for cataract surgery.

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Your Costs for YAG Laser Capsulotomy Under Medicare

If you have Original Medicare, you are responsible for your Medicare Part B deductible in addition to 20 percent of the Medicare-approved cost for YAG laser capsulotomy.

Medicare estimates that the average out-of-pocket cost for Medicare beneficiaries ranges from $114 to $164, depending on whether if the procedure is performed in an ambulatory surgical center or in a hospital outpatient department.

Your actual costs can vary depending on where you live and the type of coverage you have.
A Medigap (Medicare Supplement) insurance plan can help with your out-of-pocket costs — deductibles, coinsurance and copayments — if you have Original Medicare.

Medicare Advantage plans are required to cover everything Medicare Part A and Part B cover, but they may offer additional benefits that could reduce your share of the cost. These plans are sold by private insurers and benefits can differ from plan to plan, so it’s always advisable to verify your out-of-pocket costs with your plan’s administrator.

When Is YAG Laser Capsulotomy Necessary?

YAG laser capsulotomy corrects complications from previous cataract surgery.

Cataracts cause the natural lens in your eye to become cloudy, reducing your visual acuity — your ability to see clearly. Cataract surgery removes the damaged natural lens and replaces it with an artificial lens.

Did You Know?
YAG stands for the yttrium, aluminum and garnet crystals that generate the laser beam used in YAG laser capsulotomy.

But the proteins that caused the original cataract may continue to grow in the repaired eye — a complication called capsule clouding. It doesn’t happen with every cataract patient and usually takes about one to two years for this complication to show up in those who do develop it.

YAG laser capsulotomy removes the protein buildup from the artificial lens. The procedure takes only about a minute or two, and the laser never touches the eye. Once completed, the procedure is usually not needed again.

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FAQs About Using Medicare for YAG Laser Capsulotomy

At what point does Medicare cover YAG laser capsulotomy?
Your doctor has to certify that YAG laser capsulotomy is medically necessary before Medicare covers it, typically after an eye exam shows you have reduced sharpness or clarity after a previous cataract surgery.
What precautions should be taken after YAG laser surgery?
You can resume most normal activities after YAG laser capsulotomy. But it's recommended to keep water out of your eyes for at least a week and avoid whirlpools, saunas, pools and large bodies of water for at least three weeks. Your doctor will generally advise you to sleep in the goggles or eye shields provided to you for at least a week.
What is the average cost of YAG laser capsulotomy?
Average cost of YAG laser capsulotomy can vary widely by state. It can range from a few hundred dollars to nearly $2,000, depending on the provider. Medicare will cover some costs, but your out-of-pocket expenses will be 20% of the cost after you reach your Medicare Part B deductible.
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Last Modified: October 20, 2023

8 Cited Research Articles

  1. Cigna. (2022, January 24). YAG Laser Capsulotomy After Cataract Surgery. Retrieved from
  2. Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. (2020, October). Having a YAG Laser Capsulotomy Following Cataract Surgery. Retrieved from
  3. Karahan, E., Er, D., & Kaynak, S. (2014). An Overview of Nd: YAG Laser Capsulotomy. Retrieved from
  4. U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (2012, November 16). Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery and CMS Rulings 05-01 and 1536-R. Retrieved from
  5. McCune, D. (2006, April 12). Medicare Enters the Era of Presbyopia Lenses. Retrieved from
  6. U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (n.d.). Eyeglasses and Contact Lenses. Retrieved from
  7. U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (n.d.). Procedure Price Lookup for Outpatient Services. Retrieved from
  8. Wright Eye Center. (n.d.). Yag Laser. Retrieved from