Thursday, April 18, 2024

Medicare Part B Vision Coverage

Will Medicare Cover Macular Degeneration

Dental, Vision, and Hearing coverage under Medicare

Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in adults 50 and over. Medicare Part B will cover diagnostic tests and treatment for AMD, which may include drops or eye injections. As is the case with other covered services, youll still be responsible for 20% of the cost of your services or treatment after meeting your deductible, although a Medigap plan will cover some or all of those costs. Medicare Advantage will cover diagnostics and treatment for AMD as well, although as is the case with other services, the out-of-pocket costs will vary by plan.

Vision Screening And Risk Factors

Although Original Medicare doesnt cover routine vision care, Medicare Part B covers one preventive vision screening per year for those at high risk for glaucoma. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, African-Americans aged 50 and older, Hispanic Americans aged 65 and older, people with diabetes, and people with a family history of glaucoma are at high risk for the disease. An eye doctor whos legally permitted by your state must perform the exam.

Original Medicare Dental Coverage

Original Medicare covers limited dental care. It does not cover most dental care or supplies, such as:

However, Medicare Part A will typically provide some coverage if you receive any dental services in a hospital as an inpatient.

  • For example, Part A may cover the cost of a tooth extraction that is necessary to prepare your jaw for radiation treatment.
  • Or if you are admitted to the hospital with severe injuries to your mouth and emergency care is required, Part A might again provide limited coverage.

“Part A can pay for inpatient hospital care if you need to have emergency or complicated dental procedures, even though the dental care isnt covered,” according to

If you need dental coverage for routine dental care services and supplies, you may want to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan that includes that benefit.

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Does Medicare Cover Glaucoma Screenings

An annual glaucoma test may be covered by Medicare Part B if you are at a high risk of glaucoma due to having diabetes, a family history of the disease, Hispanic and age 65 and older or African American and age 50 and older.

Glaucoma is a condition that causes damage to the optic nerve and can lead to permanent vision loss if left untreated.

Does Medicare Cover Dental Vision Or Hearing

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Part A and Medicare Part B can only cover dental, vision, or hearing services your primary doctor or hospital staff can provide. For example, your primary care provider may do a quick hearing or eye exam during your Annual Wellness Visit. Also, dental care will fall under Part A if you need jaw surgery in a hospital.

Medicare beneficiaries need to find vision coverage, dental benefits, and hearing care through private insurance since Medicare coverage doesnt include these things. Enrollment for coverage is simple, and you can choose the benefits that make the most sense for your needs.

Since these benefits arent required to follow Medicare laws, you can sign up anytime.

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Which Medicare Plans Are Best If You Need Vision Care

Medicare Advantage Plans are best if you need vision care. MA plans cover all services that Original Medicare Part B does, plus help with routine eye exams and corrective lenses.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 98% of individual Medicare Advantage Plans and 96% of Special Needs Plans available in the U.S. in 2022 offer some vision benefits. You generally must choose in-network providers and may need to obtain referrals and prior authorization.

Details about vision care benefits you can receive and how much you pay are outlined in each plans Evidence of Coverage or Summary of Benefits documents. Some plans offer additional vision care coverage for an additional monthly premium.

Here is a comparison chart of five MA insurance companies, all HMO plans, to give you an idea of what non-Medicare vision coverage may be available to you in your area :

Medicare Advantage Plan Provider
UnitedHealthcare Routine exams covered $200 allowance for lenses every year.

You can search for plans on the Medicare website. If you anticipate the need for vision care and corrective lenses, its a good idea to check with your eye care provider to see if they are in-network with the plan you choose.

What’s Not Covered By Part A & Part B

Medicare doesn’t cover everything. If you need services Part A or Part B doesn’t cover, you’ll have to pay for them yourself unless:

  • You have other coverage to cover the costs.
  • You’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare Cost Plan that covers these services. Medicare Advantage Plans and Medicare Cost Plans may cover some extra benefits, like fitness programs and vision, hearing, and dental services.

Some of the items and services Medicare doesn’t cover include:

  • Most dental care
  • Hearing aids and exams for fitting them
  • Covered items or services you get from an opt-out doctor or other provider

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Eye Injuries Surgeries And Preventative Eye Care

Medicare will also cover surgery, exams and treatment for certain eye conditions that can permanently affect your vision or lead to more serious vision problems.

Other Vision Conditions and Treatment Medicare Covers

In each of these cases, you will be responsible for a 20% coinsurance or copayment plus any deductible.

Does Medicare Advantage Cover Eye Exams

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If you choose to get a private Medicare Advantage plan rather than original Medicare, youll have some coverage for eye exams, glasses and contact lenses, usually without a copayment. But you may have to pay if your expenses exceed plan limits. The Kaiser Family Foundation reported an average cap of $160 in 2021.

To check out plans with vision coverage in your area, go to the Medicare Plan Finder and type in your zip code. In the Plan Type drop-down menu, click Medicare Advantage Plan and hit the Apply button to register your choice.

You then may be asked to choose your county if your zip code spans more than one county. When you click Start, you can identify if you receive financial aid and see an option to compare drug costs among plans. This doesnt include vision costs.

From there, you can link to a list of all Medicare Advantage plans in your area. A green check mark notes Vision in the Plan Benefits list. You can narrow the list by clicking on Filter by: Plan Benefits, checking the box beside Vision coverage, and hitting the Apply button.

For more information about the plans vision coverage, click Plan Details and either scroll down to Extra Benefits or click on the tab with that name. If a plan has copayments or limits to coverage, youll see those listed in the Vision section.

Keep in mind

You can get help to pay for eye exams in other ways.

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How Can You Get Your Routine Eye Exams Paid For By Medicare

If none of the special circumstances above apply to you, dont give up yet. Its still possible for you to obtain Medicare coverage that will pay for routine vision care.

A Medicare Advantage plan is an alternative way of getting your Medicare benefits. These are healthcare plans that are offered by Medicare-approved private companies, and they take the place of Medicare A and B if you choose to enroll in one of them.

Medicare Advantage plans offer a variety of additional benefits that are not covered under Original Medicare. Vision, dental, wellness and hearing services are offered in many of these plans.

Extra items such as adult daycare services, transportation to medical visits, and over-the-counter medications also may be included. Medicare Part D, which covers prescription medication, is also usually incorporated into these plans.

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Unlike Original Medicare, which is accepted almost everywhere, Medical Advantage plans usually have a local network of preferred providers. Like many employer health plans, they may not cover services that are out of network, or they may cover a smaller portion of out-of-network services. They may also have certain rules for referrals and other services, so be sure you understand what is required of you under the plan.

Medicare Coverage For Vision

Medicare Part B helps pay for corrective lenses if you have cataract surgery that implants an intraocular lens. Corrective lenses include one pair of eyeglasses with standard frames or one set of contact lenses.

Your costs in Original Medicare: You pay 100% for non-covered services, including most eyeglasses or contact lenses. After you meet the Part B deductible, you pay 20% of the Medicare-Approved Amount for corrective lenses after each cataract surgery with an intraocular lens. You pay any additional costs for upgraded frames. Medicare will only pay for contact lenses or eyeglasses from a supplier enrolled in Medicare, no matter if you or your supplier submits the claim.

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Does Medicare Cover Eye Prostheses

Medicare covers eye prostheses for beneficiaries without an eye or who have eye shrinkage because of birth defect, vision trauma, or surgery. Youâre also covered for polishing and resurfacing of your artificial eye. Medicare will pay for a replacement once every five years.

All people enrolled in Medicare Part B are covered. Youâll pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for the eye prostheses, and the Part B deductible applies.

Does Medicare Pay For Dental Care In 2023

Medicare Supplement Plans With Dental And Vision

Medicare Part B will cover dental costs that are part of another covered service, such as jaw surgery. However, Medicare excludes dental coverage that youll need for the health of your teeth. For example, Medicare wont cover preventive dental exams, x-rays, routine cleanings, or comprehensive dental services.

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Macular Degeneration Diagnosis And Treatment

According to the National Institutes of Health, this disabling vision disease is associated with aging. Often gradually, vision is reduced in the center of the visual field, making it difficult to identify faces even though your vision allows you to see around the edges. Medicare Part B vision benefits may cover the costs of diagnosis and treatment, including certain prescription drugs used to treat macular degeneration.

Does Medicaid Cover Contact Lenses

Many people think that if Medicaid covers glasses, it will pay for contact lenses as well, but this is not necessarily the case. Contact lenses are not usually covered by Medicaid, but if they are deemed medically essential, they may be.

This need is determined by your local regulations, but for example, if you just underwent cataract surgery.

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What The Dental Vision Hearing Package Covers

This additional coverage gives you:

  • Dental exams, cleanings, x-rays and fluoride at no additional cost when you use an in-network provider
  • In-network vision coverage that includes standard lenses every 12 months
  • One hearing exam every 12 months and savings of up to 60% off average retail hearing aid prices at a TruHearing® provider

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How Does Medicare Cover Vision Care And Eye Exams

Medicare Part B 2023

Find Cheap Medicare Plans in Your Area

When it comes to vision care, Medicare Advantage plans generally offer lower costs and more coverage than Original Medicare. If you are shopping for a plan and need routine vision benefits like exams and eyewear, we recommend starting with Medicare Advantage options.

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How Vision Plans Work And Provide Savings

Vision plans provide coverage for routine eye care exams not covered by most medical plans. But unlike dental insurance plans, they also provide discounts on the eyeglasses and contact lenses you need to correct vision problems. And youll find that the plans are typically very affordable.

75% of us need vision correction4 so even if you have 20/20 eyesight now, chances are youll need correction at some point in your life. Adults and children alike should have an annual eye exam to test for such things as sharpness, color blindness, how the eyes work together, the presence of glaucoma, peripheral range, and more. For a few dollars a month, a vision plan can make annual eye exam services more affordable while also helping lower the expense of other types of eye care:

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Original Medicare Part B Services

Seniors enrolled in Medicare Part B are not directly covered for routine eye exams, but Medicare Part B does pay for the cost of glaucoma screenings. This typically includes an eye exam, and so it is likely to uncover other, non-glaucoma conditions that can affect vision, such as astigmatism.

Medicare Part B beneficiaries are entitled to one free glaucoma screening a year if their doctor has diagnosed them as being at an elevated risk of the condition.

High-risk individuals typically include:

  • African-American beneficiaries over age 50
  • Hispanic or Mestizo beneficiaries over age 65

Part B beneficiaries may also qualify for an annual vision screening to check for diabetic retinopathy, provided they are:

  • Enrolled in Part B
  • Willing to schedule the exam with an optometrist in their own state

Finally, Medicare Part B also authorizes annual exams to check for macular degeneration, which is the most common cause of vision loss for American seniors over age 50. If the condition is diagnosed, then Medicare Part B pays 80% of the cost of treatment, such as certain IV drugs administered in an outpatient clinic, after a beneficiary meets their annual Part B deductible.

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Other Medicare Vision And Dental Plans

Humana Medicare Advantage Plans

Like other Medicare Advantage Plans, Humana Plans also offer coverage for everything included with Original Medicare . Although there are a variety of these plans which will vary in regional availability, many plans offer additional benefits like:

  • Dental coverage
  • Annual preventative care coverage
  • Coverage for alternative modalities like acupuncture

Humana offers different types of plans and your benefits will depend upon which plan you go for. To choose a specific plan, youâll have to check the Humana official website and compare the benefits of different plans available in your area.

Aetna Medicare Advantage Plans

These plans on your overall well-being and are one of the most popular Medicare Advantage Plans. Most Aetna Medicare Advantage Plans cover routine dental care and prescription drugs. A few plans may also cover 24/7 access to Aetnaâs âAsk a Nurseâ phone hotline, routine vaccinations, and home delivery of medicines.

Cigna Medicare Advantage Plans

Like most MA plans, these plans offer more comprehensive medical coverage than Original Medicare Plans. Many of these plans cover important medical services such as:

Many plans also offer Part D or prescription drug coverage.

Kaiser Medicare Advantage Plans

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Medicare Advantage Plan

  • No-cost Fitness benefits
  • 24/7 teleconsultation with providers

What Is The Medicare Coverage For Eye Care And Eyeglasses

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Understand Medicare coverage, costs, and options for vision care and corrective lenses.

Contributing expert:Kelly Blackwell, Certified Senior Advisor®Updated: April 16, 2022

Kelly Blackwell

Kelly Blackwell is a Certified Senior Advisor ®. She has been a healthcare professional for over 30 years, with experience working as a bedside nurse and as a Clinical Manager. She has a passion for educating, assisting and advising seniors throughout the healthcare process.

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Does Medicare Pay For Eyeglasses For Diabetics

Whether you have diabetes or youre at risk, Medicare may help with the costs of certain tests, drugs, supplies and services.

Medicare also will pay for annual glaucoma screenings for high-risk individuals, including those with diabetes, a family history of glaucoma and African Americans who are age 50 or older. These screenings consist of a comprehensive eye exam, along with dilation and intraocular pressure measurement.

Unfortunately, Medicare Part B wont cover the cost of eyeglasses for diabetics unless theyve had a vitrectomy or cataract surgery. Post-procedure, Medicare Part B will cover the cost of one pair of glasses or contact lenses from a Medicare-enrolled subscriber.

Medicare Vision Benefits Medicare Part D

Medicare Part D offers prescription drug coverage, which you can sign up for to work alongside your Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B coverage. Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans are available from private, Medicare-approved insurance companies. A Medicare Prescription Drug Plan or a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan may cover certain products related to vision care, like eye drops or other vision medications prescribed by a doctor.

Medicare information is everywhere. What is hard is knowing which information to trust. Because eHealthâs Medicare related content is compliant with CMS regulations, you can rest assured youâre getting accurate information so you can make the right decisions for your coverage.Read more to learn about our Compliance Program.

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Coverage With A Medicare Advantage Plan

There is also another way to receive your Medicare health care benefits. That is through a Medicare Advantage plan. Yet, while some Medicare Advantage plans may offer coverage for dental and/or vision, the reality is that these plans are also very limited in terms of what they actually cover.

One reason for this is because Medicare Advantage plans will oftentimes be set up as an HMO or PPO where you can only receive your coverage from providers and hospitals that are listed in a particular network. In other cases, you may use out-of-network providers but your care and services can end up costing quite a bit more.

Original Medicare Eye Services For Non

Medicare Part B Changes for 2023

Original Medicare can also help seniors pay for some non-vision eye care. Part B beneficiaries who have lost an eye, for example, are covered for 80% of the cost of a prosthetic replacement. This artificial eye may be polished and resurfaced as needed, with a replacement authorized once every five years.

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