Medicare is used by millions of Americans to help pay for doctor visits, hospitalizations and prescription drugs. Unfortunately, Medicare doesn’t cover everything. To avoid being blindsided by unforeseen medical expenses, it’s important to review your Medicare policy and know what is and is not covered. This way, you can take the appropriate steps to manage your health care expenses.
Here are a few health care expenses that Medicare will not cover.
Dental and Vision Care
Routine dental visits (dental cleanings, oral exams, fillings, extractions) are not covered by Medicare. Neither are glasses, contacts or yearly eye exams. Certain services, such as cataract surgery, will be covered. Keep your dental and vision needs in mind. Medicare Advantage, for example, covers most Medicare services and may also cover vision, hearing and dental.
If your doctor orders a hearing exam, Medicare will cover it. But, the insurance won’t cover routine hearing tests, hearing aids or fittings for hearing aids. This can get expensive if you’re paying for everything out of pocket. If you have a hearing problem and need hearing aids, consider Medicare Part C to help with the costs.
Long-Term Nursing Home Care
Medicare does not pay for long-term nursing care because it is considered custodial care. In other words, Medicare will cover some medical services but not basic personal tasks such as bathing, getting dressed and cooking.
Below are a few things Medicare will help with:
- Care in a long-term care hospital
- Skilled nursing in a skilled nursing facility
- Eligible home health services
- Hospice and respite care
Alternative therapies such as acupuncture and chiropractic care are generally not covered by Medicare because they are considered experimental procedures. If there is a medical need for having chiropractic care (such as subluxation), then Medicare will cover the costs. Otherwise, expect to pay for alternative treatments out of pocket.
Remember that even Medicare-covered costs are still not covered in full. You will be responsible for copays and deductibles, so always talk to your doctor in advance. If you have supplemental insurance, it’s possible that some of these costs will be picked up by your other insurance. And, if you have a Medicare Advantage plan, additional services may be covered as well.
To learn more about Medicare and the different plans available, visit Medicare.gov.