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7 Services you didn’t know Medicare covered
We all are familiar with Medicare as covering hospital and medical bills, but it covers a variety of Medicare services and tests that are less widely known.
1. Sleep studies
Do you think you’re suffering from sleep apnea or at least would like to be tested? Medicare actually covers the four categories of sleep tests and devices. As long as you get tested in a sleep lab facility and your doctor orders the test, Part B will cover the standard 80% (with your Medigap Plan covering the rest). It will even cover a 3-month trial of CPAP therapy.
In 2016, a study presented at the Radiological Society of North America concluded that cancer frequency did not decrease among women older than 74, and there was not a recommended age cutoff for when women should stop annual mammograms. For those with Part B, Medicare covers one yearly preventive mammogram test for all women over 40. It also covers additional diagnostic mammograms when your doctor has deemed it medically necessary. So neither age nor cost should prevent you from these valuable screenings.
3. Over the border care
As a guiding rule, Medicare doesn’t cover health care (see page 57 of Medicare and You 2018 Handbook) when you’re outside the U.S., but there are a few exceptions for those who live near the borders of the US. When a foreign hospital is closer to you than the U.S. hospital, Medicare will cover your care for both standard visits and emergencies. There is also an exception for those U.S. citizens directly en route to Alaska through Canada; if there is an emergency in that situation, Medicare will cover your care in Canada.
4. Depression Screenings
Depression can often accompany other health problems. But it should not be considered part of the aging process: it’s a treatable medical condition, and Medicare will cover your care if you decide to seek diagnosis and treatment. As long as your appointment takes place in a primary care doctor’s office that can provide both follow-up treatment and referrals, Medicare will completely cover one depression screening. If you are diagnosed, Medicare will cover your therapy with your doctor’s referral to a psychiatrist or counselor for treatment. Your prescriptions, of course, will either be covered by your Prescription Drug Plan or your Medicare Advantage plan.
5. Physical Therapy
In 2018, Congress lifted the calendar year limit caps on what Medicare will pay for occupational, physical, and speech pathology therapy. Stipulations? As usual, this service coverage hinges on your therapists confirmation that these services are medically necessary and reasonable. Once you reach $2,010, Medicare asks your therapist to confirm and explain the need for therapy to continue. Once you have that confirmation, you can continue your therapy fully covered. To read about the additional financial benchmarks that Medicare examines, click here.
6. Obesity Screenings
Many seniors who find activity more difficult as they age may start gaining weight and leave the doctor’s office with instructions to start taking action. But losing weight becomes more of a challenge as you get older and heavier, and Medicare offers help for those who have a diagnosed BMI of over 30 (30< is considered obese). Services also include behavioral counseling sessions and therapy. Like many items on this list, in order for Medicare to cover it, your primary care doctor must refer you for them.
7. Foot Care
Now, Medicare won’t cover your next pedicure, but if you are having a foot ailment that can be medically identified and treated, Medicare will cover it. Common treatable ailments include bunions, hammer toes (also called a rotated toe: when there is abnormal bend in the middle joint), deformities, and heel spurs. Many seniors don’t seek treatment because many of these issues seem “minor,” but if they are causing you pain and discomfort (and they don’t fall under routine care, like callus removal), we encourage our clients to seek treatment because it’s covered.
Medicare covers many of these medical services with Part B, so since that is only 80%, your Medigap plan will cover the 20% left of the costs. Unhappy with your Medigap Plan coverage?
Griffin Insurance Solutions is an independent agency that offers plans from 15 different insurers. We understand that each client is a unique individual, and we want to help you find the best plan and the right insurer. We ensure that your options remain flexible so you can use the providers and doctors of your choice. We’ll happily address your questions and concerns and help you find the best plan for you. Contact us today for in-person appointment by email or phone at 919-704-6147 or 800-774-1434.