We desire the right health care for our loved ones, but is it possible that on occasion, less is best? Based upon a recent report published in Plos One by Dr. Martin Makary, professor of surgery and health policy at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, a full 21% of medical care we receive is unneeded – meaning that millions of individuals subjected to various treatment plans, screenings and scans are getting little if any benefit. And these kinds of unwarranted health services come at a cost: up to $210 billion each year, as reported by the National Academy of Medicine. Read more
Great news in senior home health! Individuals with peripheral artery disease (PAD) are better able to receive treadmill therapy. PAD is a debilitating condition that may result from cigarette smoking or diabetes and can increase a person’s chance of developing a heart attack or stroke, and in some cases lead to limb amputation. Medicare is now going to pay for the cost of treadmill therapy when recommended and supervised by a medical professional. Read more
On average, seniors are each taking 15 – 18 different prescribed medications, so Medicare coverage of these medicines is often extremely important. And with a typical price tag of greater than $11,000 annually for the most typical medicines prescribed for the elderly, it could be debilitating when Medicare suddenly denies coverage. Nevertheless, that’s taking place ever more frequently as Medicare plans are progressively establishing coverage limits on seniors – generally outside of affirmation from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Because the Medicare appeals process for denied coverage can be so intimidating, unfortunately, a great many aging adults just accept the denial – at frequently an outrageously high financial impact, and also at potential risk to their health when necessary medicines are discontinued because of lack of Medicare insurance coverage. As stated by David Lipschutz, senior policy attorney at the Center for Medicare Advocacy, “A lot of people fall through the cracks. They simply don’t know what to do. Or they try to go through the process, and it’s complicated and time-consuming and they just give up.”
Even though several medications must be covered by Medicare across the board (those for HIV/AIDS, depression, cancer, and seizures, to name a few), there’s a gray area by which medications are covered for other conditions – and preapproval is oftentimes required, or patients are given the criteria that lower cost methods need to be used first (also known as step therapy). Denials usually come as a result of neglecting to satisfy these requirements.
So, exactly what can a senior try to receive the drug insurance coverage to which they’re entitled? There are particular important steps:
- First, obtain a formal coverage determination from the senior’s Medicare drug plan. Details on submitting this specific request can be found by clicking here.
- When coverage is determined, there are five levels in the Medicare appeals process, detailed here.
- Keep detailed documentation throughout every step of the process. To get more guidance, the Medicare Rights Center can help. You can reach them at 800-333-4114.
Keep in mind that it’s important to be persistent. Frequently, higher levels of Medicare appeals are approved even though initial steps result in disheartening results. Contact Endeavor Home Care, the number one San Diego home care team, for additional tips and hands-on assistance for seniors. We are able to provide resources that will help seniors in addition to their family members advocate for themselves, as well as specialized in-home care services to ensure that medications are taken just as prescribed, that prescription medication refills are taken care of, and much more. Call us at (480) 535-6800 and learn how to keep your senior loved one safe and flourishing!
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