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Medicare Benefits For Those With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Medicare benefits available for COPD treatment

Find Medicare plans that offer extensive coverage for COPD. Call (800) 950-0608 today to speak with one of our licensed insurance agents.

Just the Essentials:

  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a disease of the lungs that makes it progressively harder for you to breathe.

  • COPD in seniors is becoming more prevalent due to a number of social and environmental issues.

  • No cure is available, but there are options for treatment for COPD.

  • Speak with one of our licensed insurance agents to find a Medicare plan that offers coverage for COPD services and COPD treatment.

COPD is One of the Biggest Health Issues Facing Seniors Today

Lung disease is one of the biggest factors affecting the health of senior citizens today. Whether it’s asthma that develops in childhood, an onset of lung cancer, or emphysema caused by years of heavy smoking, lung disease of some sort affects a majority of the senior population. In fact, you may be currently living with lung disease and not know it.

One of the most common, and serious, lung diseases affecting seniors is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD. COPD is chronic, and it can be treated, but there is no cure. COPD is also progressive, and it can lead to many other serious health issues if not treated, or not treated properly.

Fortunately, treatment for COPD and other lung diseases like emphysema and chronic bronchitis is more widely available today than it ever has been. If you’re a Medicare beneficiary, your plan may offer extensive coverage for COPD treatment. In this article, we’re going to learn more about COPD, treatment options for COPD, and how your Medicare plan can help you cover COPD treatment.

Medicare benefits for COPD treatment

What is COPD: A Quick Primer

Chronic Pulmonary Obstructive Disorder (COPD) is often viewed as one disease in itself. However, COPD is actually a cluster of lung diseases that cut off your airflow, making it tough to breathe. The two lung diseases that primarily make up COPD are chronic bronchitis and emphysema, two issues that are dangerous enough on their own.

With COPD, your airways increase their mucus production and the vital parts of your lungs, such as the alveoli (air sac), become swollen and inflamed. COPD also attacks and begins to destroy your airways and lungs, which enlarge to dangerous levels. As a result, COPD can do an extensive amount of damage to your respiratory system and significantly impede your lung function. Even if your COPD goes into remission, the damage done by the disease never goes away.

The disease can present for a long time without symptoms. Essentially, you may have it and not even know, especially if you’re currently a heavy smoker or have smoked for years. When symptoms of COPD do begin to present themselves, you may experience:

  • Tightness in your chest
  • A chronic cough that often produces mucus
  • Shortness of breath, wheezing, and frequent breathlessness
  • Frequent respiratory illnesses
  • Lower energy than before
  • Swelling in your ankles, feet, or legs

If you’re experiencing these symptoms, especially at higher frequencies than normal, it’s important to contact your physician right away. They will be able to detect COPD sooner, which can lead to early diagnosis. Early diagnosis of COPD can lead to higher remission rates and better quality of life with effective treatment.

Primary Causes of COPD

Unfortunately, there is  more than just one risk factor associated with the onset of COPD. COPD is most often found in individuals who either currently smoke, or were longtime smokers. This could include frequent exposure to secondhand smoke. Some of the other main causes of COPD include:

  • Exposure to dust and other irritants
  • Exposure to coal smoke
  • Outdoor air pollution

In some cases, COPD may be caused by a genetic deficiency. Individuals who are born with alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency have a higher risk factor of developing COPD at some point during their lives. Individuals with asthma are also at higher risk of developing COPD later in life.

What Medicare benefits are available for COPD

Available Treatments for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder

Treatment for COPD depends on the level of severity of the disorder. Persons with Level 1 or Level 2 COPD will require different treatment than those who suffer from more severe forms of the disorder, Level 3 or Level 4.

If you’ve been diagnosed with Level 1 or Level 2 COPD, your illness can be managed with a bronchodilator, rescue inhalers, and steroid treatment. Your doctor may also suggest certain lifestyle changes to help you better manage the illness. Some lifestyle changes your doctor may suggest include:

  • Quitting smoking
  • Avoiding secondhand smoke and noxious fumes
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Getting as much exercise as is tolerable for you

If you have advanced or “end-stage” COPD, Level 3 or Level 4, you’ll require more intensive treatment. For instance, you may need oxygen therapy or pulmonary rehabilitation. If these treatments have failed, your doctor may recommend a surgical procedure. These can range from minimally-invasive procedures, such as placement of endobronchial valves, to more drastic procedures, such as full lung replacement.

Does Medicare Cover COPD Treatment?

If you’re a Medicare beneficiary with COPD, you may have one of the following two questions on your mind:

  • Does Medicare cover COPD?
  • Does Medicare cover COPD treatment?

The answer to both is, yes, Medicare does provide coverage for COPD and COPD treatment. The level of coverage you receive depends heavily on the type of Medicare plan you have.

Original Medicare, Medicare Part A and Part B, will cover most hospital and medical treatments and services needed to treat COPD. Your Medicare Part B plan, for instance, will cover pulmonary rehabilitation programs. In order to have your pulmonary rehabilitation covered by Medicare Part B, you must have moderate to severe COPD and have a doctor’s referral. 

Original Medicare also covers home oxygen treatment for COPD, but that coverage is somewhat limited. Before Original Medicare will cover your home oxygen COPD treatment, you:

  • Must have arterial oxygen partial pressure measurements between 56 and 65 mmHG, or;
  • Your oxygen saturation level must be at or above 89 percent

Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare Part D Prescription Drug plans, and Medigap supplemental insurance can all help cover treatment for COPD that Original Medicare does not. Medicare Advantage offers the same coverage for COPD treatment as Original Medicare, but depending on certain factors, a Medicare Advantage plan may offer more coverage for COPD than Medicare Parts A and B.

When you need prescription medications to help you treat COPD, Medicare Part D plans may offer coverage for any inhalers, steroids, or other medicines that relieve COPD symptoms. Medigap coverage can help you take care of costs that you’d otherwise be paying for out of pocket, such as copays or coinsurance.

COPD treatment Medicare benefits

Find a Medicare Plan That Works for You

When you’re looking for a Medicare plan that can help you get the coverage you need for COPD treatment, it’s important to research and thoroughly compare each plan. With our free plan finder, you can enter your zip code and research many different Medicare plans in your area to find one that works for you.

If you have any questions about Medicare plans that offer coverage for COPD, give our licensed insurance agents a call. They’re happy to answer any question you may have regarding Medicare plans and coverage available near you.

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