1 in 5 Americans relies on Medicare for their health coverage. And Millions May Be Missing Out On These 10 Hidden Benefits Of The Program

1 in 5 Americans relies on Medicare for their health coverage.  And Millions May Be Missing Out On These 10 Hidden Benefits Of The Program
1 in 5 Americans relies on Medicare for their health coverage.  And Millions May Be Missing Out On These 10 Hidden Benefits Of The Program

1 in 5 Americans relies on Medicare for their health coverage. And Millions May Be Missing Out On These 10 Hidden Benefits Of The Program

A whopping 65 million people rely on Medicare for their health insurance coverage, which is 20% of the population, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

And while the foundation notes that Medicare spending accounts for 12% of the federal budget and 20% of national health care spending, many Americans 65 and older may not be getting the most out of the government health program.

Basic, original Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance) cover the obvious things you expect from health insurance: hospital stays, appointments with your doctor when you’re sick, ambulance services, vaccinations for the flu.

But it also pays for many things that may surprise you.

If you have Medicare or are approaching that time in your life, you’ll want to be aware of these 10 Medicare benefits members often don’t know about that can keep you from diving into your savings.

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1. Annual ‘Wellness Visits’

Once you’ve had Medicare Part B coverage for a year, you’ll get what’s called an annual wellness visit with your doctor, who will take routine measurements like your height, weight, blood pressure, and review your medical history.

You will complete a “Health Risk Assessment” questionnaire to identify risk factors so that you and your doctor can work to keep you healthy.

Medicare says appointments may also include “screening for any cognitive impairment.” That means your doctor will be alert for signs of Alzheimer’s or similar ailments.

2. Obesity counseling

Obesity causes many diseases and can further weaken the frail bodies of the elderly.

Rates of diabetes and heart disease skyrocket for people who are overweight or obese. Joint and bone diseases are easier to control at healthy weight levels.

If you have a body mass index (BMI) reading of 30 or more, Medicare will cover face-to-face counseling sessions in a primary care setting (like a doctor’s office) to help you lose weight at a lower level. healthy.

3. Help to quit smoking

If you smoke, Medicare can help you kick the habit.

Letting go can be difficult, especially if you’ve been a lifelong smoker. To help you break your nicotine addiction, Medicare will pay for eight in-person counseling sessions per year.

But keep in mind that Medicare drug coverage won’t pay for over-the-counter smoking cessation products at pharmacies, like nicotine patches, lozenges, and gum.

4. Some hearing tests

Generally, Medicare Basic will not pay for hearing aids or routine hearing tests.

But it may cover a hearing exam if your doctor says it’s medically necessary.

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Hearing is related to balance. When an older person has balance problems, a doctor may want to check the ears to see if there is an inner ear problem that requires medical treatment.

5. Hospice care

Hospice care comprises a series of treatments at the end of a person’s life. Medicare will pay for a long list of hospice services, including nursing care and grief and loss counseling for the patient and family.

Hospice coverage applies when a Medicare beneficiary has been given six months or less to live and has agreed to forgo further attempts at cure.

Medicare-certified hospice care usually takes place where you already live, either at home or in a nursing home. You can also get hospice care in an inpatient facility. However, it’s important to note that Medicare does not cover your room and board, although it may pay for a short-term stay in hospice if your hospice team determines you need it.

If you are dealing with any other health issues that are not related to your terminal illness, they should also be covered by Medicare. But the government’s Medicare site notes that’s pretty unusual. Once you select hospice care, the hospice benefit generally covers everything you need.

6. Counseling for alcohol problems

Like smoking, alcohol abuse can have very negative effects on an older person’s well-being.

Medicare provides free alcohol screening and treatment for alcohol abuse. Covers one evaluation per year and up to four brief counseling sessions if the reviewing physician thinks the patient needs help.

7. Disease tests

Medicare covers screening tests for many diseases as part of your preventive services.

Medicare will pay for tests to detect: HIV and other STDs; diabetes; glaucoma; breast and cervical cancer; colon and prostate cancer; and heart disease.

Patients with a history of smoking can get an annual lung cancer screening, and Medicare also covers annual screenings for depression and other behavioral health concerns of older people.

8. Special footwear for diabetics

One of Medicare’s lesser-known benefits is its allowance for specialized shoes for people with diabetes.

The disease can cause poor or abnormal circulation in the feet, and lack of proper treatment can result in the need for amputation. Another risk is diabetic neuropathy, which can damage the nerve endings in the feet.

Diabetic shoes help regulate circulation and reduce the danger of neuropathy. Medicare will pay for one pair of custom-molded shoes and inserts and one pair of extra-depth shoes if prescribed and furnished by a podiatrist or other qualified health care professional.

Your insurance will also cover two additional pairs of inserts for your custom-molded shoes and three pairs of inserts for extra-deep shoes each calendar year.

9. Wheelchairs and scooters

Wheelchairs and mobility scooters are important tools in helping people with debilitating conditions lead normal lives. Medicare will pay for the cost under certain circumstances.

The wheelchair or scooter must be considered medically necessary.

Your doctor would need to certify that you are unable to walk without difficulty. The doctor will need to write a prescription for the vehicle or wheelchair after doing an exam.

10. A walk-in bathtub (maybe)

A deep soaking tub can help people with joint problems or other issues that make it difficult or impossible to climb into a traditional tub.

Medicare can help with the cost of a walk-in tub, though tubs aren’t on the list of “durable medical equipment” that Medicare will cover, including wheelchairs, oxygen equipment, and hospital beds.

In order for you to get coverage, your doctor would have to attest that a walk-in tub is an absolute medical necessity. Medicare wouldn’t provide assistance up front: After you buy the tub, it would bill you for possible reimbursement. But there is no guarantee that you will get your money back.

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This article provides information only and should not be construed as advice. It is provided without warranty of any kind.

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