Will Medicare Cover Alzheimer’s Related Expenses?
The key to fighting Alzheimer’s and dementia is early and accurate detection. An Annual Wellness Visit and Health Risk Assessment with your primary care physician are a good starting point. Diagnostic testing may also be used to view abnormalities that are present with such diseases. For these services Medicare only covers 80% of the cost, but a Medicare Supplement Plan will help cover the additional 20%.
As the disease begins in the early stages, mental health services and medications may be required. Once again, your Medicare Supplement Plan can help to cover any copays. The medications used to treat patients with Alzheimer’s disease are covered by Medicare, through your Part D. Commonly covered medications include antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, and cholinesterase inhibitors. Alternative therapies may be sought, such as acupuncture and herbal remedies, but these are not covered by Medicare.
During middle stages, much more care will be required. Caregiver training for family members is currently provided by Medicare in the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. Some home health services may be covered by Medicare for speech or physical therapy, intermittent nursing care, or if a physician deems it necessary. This coverage may also extend to durable medical equipment and supplies.
Note that meal delivery, in-home 24-hour care, and adult day care is not covered by Medicare. This is because this type of care is considered to not be medically necessary and should be coordinated by the patient’s custodian rather than their health care plan.
Late stage dementia requires constant, extensive care. For the patient’s loved ones, this can be the most difficult time as they are no longer able to provide care on their own and my need to consider a nursing home or at end stages, hospice care. Hospice care will be covered by Medicare if a physician has determined the individual to have at minimum 6 months to live. However, Medicare does not cover nursing home costs for patients with cognitive disorders alone. An admission to a hospital prior to a stay at a nursing home is required, but this is usually after major surgeries or injuries.