Don’t spend your hard-earned money on items that insurance will cover
“Family caregivers also spend on average 20% of their already-lower earnings on caregiving-related expenses — money they are not saving for their own futures.” (Forbes, 2021)
Ellen’s mom has trouble sleeping and is having some trouble with incontinence. Ellen spends quite a lot of money per year on sleeping aids and adult “underwear”. She heard about sleep apnea and a CPAP machine and wondered if that was something she should ask her mother’s doctor about. Little did she know that Medicare would cover both of these items.
Wouldn’t it be great to get the most out of Medicare coverage? We chased down some of the items that you may be paying for—and found that Medicare will pay instead!
When you sign up for Medicare, you have to sign up for the Original Medicare policy, which includes Parts A and B. Medicare Part C, is also known as the Medicare Advantage policy. Medicare Part D is an optional add on, just like Part C. This graph from medicare.org highlights the differences in Parts A, B, C and D.
Medicare covers a range of things, including some products and services that you buy. We pulled together a list of eight items that you may not know are covered by Medicare.
Are you paying for these 8 items?
#1 COVID Test
You pay nothing for this test when you get it from a laboratory, pharmacy, doctor, or hospital, and when Medicare covers this test in your local area.
#2 Screening for Depression
Medicare Part B covers one depression screening per year.
#3 Incontinence Supplies
There are some Part C plans available throughout the country that will offer benefits for products like adult diapers. Yet, these plans are only in specific service areas. In some cases, no plans with this benefit may exist in your location, but it’s worth checking.
Starting January 1, 2021, you may be able to get Medicare drug coverage through the Part D Senior Savings Model that offers broad access to many types of insulin for no more than $35 for a month’s supply. You can get this savings on insulin if you join a Medicare drug plan or Medicare Advantage Plan with drug coverage that participates in the insulin savings model. This model lets you choose among drug plans that offer insulin at a predictable and affordable cost.
#5 A CPAP Machine
One surprising piece of equipment that is typically covered, partially, by Medicare is a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Therapy equipment. This machine helps those who are diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea to breath and sleep better through the night. It also helps those who are sleeping with them from whacking them with pillows to keep them from snoring.
#6 Advance Care Planning
Advanced care is planning for care you would get if you become unable to speak for yourself.
Medicare Part B covers voluntary advance care planning as part of your yearly “Wellness” visit. The medical staff can help you fill out an advance care directive or POLST form. Medicare may also cover this service as part of your medical treatment.
#7 Hospice / Palliative Care
There are plenty of Medicare-approved hospices across the country under the Original Medical policy. To qualify for hospice care, a hospice doctor and your doctor (if you have one) must certify that you’re terminally ill, meaning you have a life expectancy of 6 months or less.
#8 Smoking & Tobacco Cessation Counseling
Medicare Part B covers up to 8 visits of smoking and tobacco-use cessation counseling visits in a 12-month period.
We have done our best to make certain this information is accurate, but confirmation of coverage can only be confirmed through your particular Medicare plan and provider.
May you find joy in loving one another well.
Elizabeth Dameron-Drew is the Co-founder and President of Ways & Wane. She walked closely with her own father through his years of waning. She lives near Seattle with her two teenage sons, husband and two rescue dogs.