Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) does cover dialysis services and supplies for qualified beneficiaries who have End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).
Medicare Advantage plans (Part C) and a certain type of Medicare Advantage plan called a Medicare Special Needs Plan (SNP) can also cover dialysis. All Medicare Advantage plans include an annual out-of-pocket spending limit, and most plans include prescription drug coverage, both of which Original Medicare doesn’t cover.
Some of the kidney dialysis services and supplies that Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare SNPs help cover include:
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Inpatient dialysis treatment is typically covered by Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) if you go to a Medicare-approved hospital.
Routine dialysis, ESRD-related lab tests and other outpatient care is typically covered by Medicare Part B if you get these services at a Medicare-certified dialysis facility.
Medicare Part B covers some drugs used in self-dialysis, including heparin and topical anesthetics (when medically necessary). ESRD-related drugs that only have an oral form of administration are only covered by Medicare Part D and Medicare SNPs.
Medicare Part D plans (also known as Medicare Prescription Drug Plans) are sold by private insurance companies to help cover the cost of prescription drugs, as most drugs are not covered by Medicare Part A or Part B. If you enroll in a Medicare SNP, you don’t need to enroll in (and aren’t eligible for) a separate Part D plan.
People with ESRD may qualify for Medicare, a Medicare Advantage plan or a Medicare Special Needs Plan (SNP).
A Medicare SNP is a type of Medicare Advantage plans that helps cover people with specific characteristics or diseases, including ESRD. These plans tailor benefits, provider choices, coordination of care and prescription drug formularies to best meet the specific needs of the groups they serve.
And unlike Original Medicare, all Medicare Special Needs Plans must cover prescription drugs.
To qualify for a Medicare SNP, you must get a note from your doctor confirming that you have the condition (in this case, ESRD) addressed by the Special Needs Plan.
A Medicare SNP also includes all of the ESRD coverage offered by Original Medicare, which are outlined below. Your Medicare SNP deductible costs and copays may be lower than what is listed, so be sure to check with your plan to learn more about the costs of your services.
To qualify for Medicare coverage of ESRD, you must:
You can also qualify through the work history of your spouse or parent.
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Christian Worstell is a licensed insurance agent and a Senior Staff Writer for MedicareAdvantage.com. He is passionate about helping people navigate the complexities of Medicare and understand their coverage options.
His work has been featured in outlets such as Vox, MSN, and The Washington Post, and he is a frequent contributor to health care and finance blogs.
Christian is a graduate of Shippensburg University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He currently lives in Raleigh, NC.
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