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For seniors enrolled in Medicare Part B, the cost for medically necessary devices and services or procedures may be paid up to 80% after the deductible. Some of these life-improving medical tools for seniors and health tests for seniors might be worth discussing with a doctor and getting pre-approved by Medicare.
Durable Medical Devices Covered by Medicare
A durable medical device or durable medical equipment is defined as equipment you use repeatedly to go about your daily activities within your home. As long as the equipment serves a medical purpose, is appropriate for use in your home, and will last at least 3 years, Medicare will consider covering it. It’s best to get these expenses pre-approved before making your purchase. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Portable Oxygen Equipment
- Hospital Beds
- Prosthetic Limbs
- Insulin Pumps and Diabetes Supplies
- Patient Lifts
It’s important to note that if a device or piece of equipment is primarily for use outside the home, it will not be covered by Medicare. For instance, if you can walk short distances to navigate your house, the cost of an electric scooter to move around outside the home is unlikely to be covered. The device must also be prescribed by your primary care doctor to be covered by Medicare.
Tests and Screening Covered by Medicare
In the last decade Medicare has placed an increased emphasis on preventive testing for older Americans. Fewer than half of adults age 65 and older are up-to-date with preventive services. This includes vital procedures like diabetes screening, colorectal cancer screening, osteoporosis screening, and cholesterol screening. Tests like these for both preventive care and clinical care are usually covered by Medicare. These include, but are not limited to:
- Glaucoma tests
- Hearing and balance exams
- Lung cancer screenings
- Sleep studies
- Sexually transmitted infection (STI) screening
- Diabetes screening
- Aortic aneurysm screening
- Depression screening
As with durable medical devices, it’s important to consider getting these tests pre-approved by Medicare before scheduling them. Working closely with your doctor you can understand why these tests are medically necessary and ensure you are choosing the best option most likely to be covered.
Caregiver Support Options Covered by Medicare
In addition to devices and testing that are needed to assess and preserve the health of the policy holder, Medicare can also cover innovations that support caregivers of older Americans. In 2015, 43.5 million people reported working as an unpaid caregiver to the AARP and the National Alliance on Caregiving. This means that many seniors on Medicare may be eager to learn about opportunities to make life easier for the individuals who are supporting them. Such options include, but are not limited to:
- Part-time in-home skilled nursing care
- Bath lifts or bath chairs
- Home and remote safety monitoring
- Electronic pillboxes and medication reminder systems
- Hospice care
It’s important to remember that these options must still be deemed medically necessary by a doctor to be covered, and that Medicare usually only pays 80% of costs after the Part B deductible.
Medicare is an essential benefit for older Americans, but it doesn’t cover all expenses, and the Part B program itself also costs money. In 2018, the average person aged 65 or older spent $5,877 on health care, including $4,029 on health insurance like Medicare. As people live longer and healthcare costs grow, many nest eggs might be put under pressure. Did you know you can sell all or a portion of an unneeded life insurance policy, even term insurance? For many seniors a life settlement is an option that brings financial security in the present while also reducing expenses on premiums for life insurance. If this sounds like it might be a viable option for you, too, visit the Life Settlement Advisors calculator to quickly see if you would qualify.
Case Study: John and Betty each had a life insurance policy they no longer needed. They bought life insurance when the kids were young to protect their future. Today, the kids are grown and have good jobs. John and Betty no longer need the coverage so they sold their life insurance policies and now they have money to help with the medical bills and anything else they choose to use the money for.
Life Settlement Advisors