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Ways That Physical Therapy Can Help Seniors

Medicare Coverage and Payment of Virtual Services

There are several reasons why a senior citizen might undergo physical therapy, such as:

  • Recovering from a fall, accident or strokeFalls are the most common type of accident for seniors, and they often result in broken bones and other injuries. Physical therapy can help you recover from a fall and regain strength in your affected body part.Seniors who suffer a stroke are also often left with one weaker hand or arm. As with recovering from a broken bone, physical therapy can help you rebuild strength and range of motion in your affected limbs.
  • Recovering from a surgeryMany older adults find themselves confined to bed for weeks after undergoing surgery. After an initial resting period, physical therapy helps many recovering seniors regain the strength and range of motion that they enjoyed before their procedure.
  • Avoiding surgeryA person may be able to avoid having surgery altogether by successfully rehabilitating an injury through physical therapy, if their doctor agrees to this treatment option.
  • Alleviating chronic painPhysical therapy can be an effective form of pain relief for chronic pain conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis.
  • Reducing dependence on prescription medicationsFinding pain relief through physical therapy can reduce or eliminate ones dependency on pain killing medication.
  • Physical therapy can help seniors develop strength, flexibility and endurance, which are especially helpful in helping prevent falls and keeping seniors healthy and happy overall.

    What Is Speech Therapy

    Speech therapy or speech language pathology is a treatment process that can help you regain your ability to speak or swallow after an injury or illness.

    These services are often used following a stroke or traumatic brain injury, which can affect the areas of the brain related to speech. Although the thoughts may be happening, it can be difficult to form the words and speak them clearly.

    Other situations where speech therapy may be needed include after head or neck surgery or after a prolonged illness or hospital stay. Those who experience profound hearing loss and require a hearing implant may also benefit from speech therapy services.

    Does Medicare Cover In

    Original Medicare may cover physical therapy performed in your home under Medicares home health benefits.

    In order for in-home physical therapy to be covered by Medicare, the following circumstances typically must be met:

    • You must be under the care of a doctor, and the therapy must be part of the doctors care plan.
    • Your doctor must certify that you are homebound.
    • Your physical therapy treatments must be performed by a qualified physical therapist.
    • The agency providing your therapy services must be certified by Medicare.
    • Your doctor believes your condition can improve with physical therapy or that physical therapy is needed in order to maintain your condition.

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    Does Medicare Cover Physical Therapy In A Skilled Nursing Facility

    Medicare covers physical therapy in a skilled nursing facility when your doctor prescribes it. To enter a skilled facility, you must have had a hospital stay of at least three days and be admitted within 30 days of discharge from the hospital.

    Medicare pays for the first 20 days of a skilled nursing stay in full, including any physical therapy you receive there. For days 21 through 100, you pay a daily coinsurance of $194.50. Starting with day 101, you’re responsible for the full cost of your services.

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    Medicare can also provide coverage for certain services related to drug or alcohol misuse.

    Medicare Part B may cover outpatient treatment services as part of a partial hospitalization program , if your doctor certifies that you need at least 20 hours of therapeutic services per week. Part B may also cover outpatient substance abuse counseling sessions performed by a doctor, clinical psychologist, nurse practitioner or clinical social worker.

    Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D can each provide coverage for prescription medication related to treatment for drug or alcohol dependency. Coverage will depend on your individual plan.

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    Does Medicare Cover Physiotherapy

    Physiotherapy is another term for physical therapy in many parts of the world, including Canada, Europe, and Australia. Some physical therapy doctors in the U.S. may use physiotherapy to describe what they do. If this is the case, Medicare will cover your therapy, whether it is called physical therapy or physiotherapy.

    How Does Medicare Cover Mental Health Services

    Dear Marci,

    I am new to Medicare. I have been receiving treatment for depression and anxiety for several years, and have gotten treatment in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Will these services be covered under Medicare? How much will they cost?

    Dear Beau,

    Medicare covers medically necessary mental health careservices and programs that are intended to help diagnose and treat mental health conditions.

    If you have Original Medicare, Part A covers inpatient mental health services that you receive in either a psychiatric hospital or a general hospital. Your provider should determine which hospital setting you need. If you receive care in a psychiatric hospital, Medicare covers up to 190 days of inpatient care in your lifetime. If you have used your lifetime days but need additional mental health care, Medicare may cover your additional inpatient care at a general hospital.

    Be aware that you will have the same out-of-pocket costs with Original Medicare whether you receive care in a general or psychiatric hospital:

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    Does Medicare Cover Counseling

    • Activity therapies like art, dance, and music therapy
    • Family counseling to address a mental health condition
    • Drugs that usually arent self-administered
    • An annual depression screening with a primary care physician
    • An annual alcohol misuse screening with a primary care physician

    Medicare Part B has an annual deductible that changes over time. It was $183 in 2018 and is $233 in 2022. After the deductible, Medicare covers 80% of outpatient services and you have to pay 20% coinsurance on the Medicare-approved amount for the service you are receiving.

    The standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B in 2022 is $170.10. This amount is usually deducted from your Social Security check.

    What To Expect With Radiation Treatments

    Medicare Coverage and Payment of Cognitive Assessment & Care Plan Services

    If you and your doctor have decided that radiation therapy is right for your type of cancer, youll begin with a radiation simulation. During the simulation, youll lie on a table and a CT scan or X-ray will be done to see where your cancer is and where the energy beams should focus.

    After the images are taken, your treatment team will mark the area where radiation is needed. This will help the team direct the radiation precisely to the right place.

    During radiation therapy, youll likely have treatments 5 days per week for up to 10 weeks. How much radiation you receive and for how long will depend on the extent and type of your cancer.

    Depending on the kind of treatment you get, you may experience

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    Medicare Coverage For Partial Hospitalization Programs

    Partial hospitalization or day treatment programs may be covered by Medicare if they meet certain requirements. Specifically, your doctor must certify that you need this level of care and that you would need inpatient psychiatric care if a day treatment program wasnt available.

    Other Medicare coverage requirements for partial hospitalization programs include:

    • The program must include at least 20 hours per week of counseling and therapy services
    • Treatment must be supervised by a licensed physician
    • The program must offer multiple types of therapy, including individual and group counseling
    • Therapy must be provided by licensed professionals
    • The doctor must develop an individual treatment plan with measurable goals
    • The need for partial hospitalization must be reviewed at least every 30 days

    Part B pays a percentage of allowable charges for partial hospitalization programs after you meet your Part B deductible. You pay a percentage of allowable charges plus a daily coinsurance for each day of treatment.

    Medicare has comprehensive mental health care benefits for both inpatient and outpatient counseling services.

    It is important to note that Medicare doesnt cover meals in a day treatment program or transportation to and from the facility.

    Many Medicare Advantage Plans Cover Prescription Drugs

    Medicare Advantage plans are sold by private insurance companies as an alternative to Original Medicare. Every Medicare Advantage plan must cover everything that Original Medicare covers, and most Medicare Advantage plans may offer prescription drug coverage.

    Some Medicare Advantage plans may also offer additional benefits, such as:

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    Does Medicare Cover Marriage Counseling

    Medicare generally only covers marriage or couples counseling in a very limited number of cases.

    First, Medicare has only been reimbursing marriage and family therapists since 2019, and it currently only reimburses them for services provided to people with a primary substance use disorder diagnosis.

    Second, Medicare only covers services linked to a primary psychiatric diagnosis listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders . So, it wont cover any kind of marriage or family therapy from any kind of provider if it isnt required to treat a mental health condition.

    This means that if you want to see a social worker or psychologist to address communication or other relationship issues that arent directly related to a mental health diagnosis, Medicare wont cover it.

    What Is Medicare Insurance

    Medicaid Pay for Primary Care Now at Medicare Levels

    Medicare is a government-run national health insurance program that began in 1965 under the Social Security Administration. Today, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services administer its four parts .

    As of 2016, Tennessee has some of the highest percentages of citizens receiving disability benefits, thus receiving Medicare.3

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    Medicare Supplement Plans And Physical Therapy

    Your Medicare Supplement policy could cover your out-of-pocket physician therapy costs. Depending on the Medicare Supplement plan, you could receive full coverage. Those who anticipate needing physical therapy should consider Medigap to keep their costs as low as possible.

    Find Medicare Plans in 3 Easy Steps

    We can help find the right Medicare plans for you today

    To better explain how Medigap could benefit someone in need of physical therapy, lets look at an example. Suppose Josie needs physical therapy for her knees. She enrolled in Medicare Supplement Plan G because she knows she needs to visit the doctors office frequently.

    Since Josie has Medigap Plan G, she will pay her premium and the Medicare Part B deductible. If Josie has inpatient physical therapy, she will not pay anything other than her monthly premium.

    But, with outpatient physical therapy, Josie will need to pay the Medicare Part B deductible. If Josie did not have Medigap, she could be responsible for deductibles and coinsurance.

    Community Mental Health Centers

    In addition to services offered at PHPs, community mental health centers offer an alternative to hospitalization. These facilities provide:

    • 24-hour emergency care with follow-up
    • Day treatment, partial hospitalization, or rehab in line with the patients needs
    • Screening for admission to a state mental health facility

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    What Types Of Therapy Does Medicare Blue Cross Blue Shield Not Cover

    Medicare Blue Cross Blue Shield will not cover any therapies that are not evidence-based or based. Treatment also needs to be based upon a specific mental health diagnosis. For these reasons, Medicare Blue Cross Blue Shield will not cover career counseling, life coaching, holistic therapies, or reiki healing.

    Medicare Blue Cross Blue Shield also offers many members access to various online mental health resources and wellness benefits outside of therapy coverage. You might find these tools through your online portal.

    Which Medicare Plans May Be Best If You Need Physical Therapy

    Medicare & You: Home Health Care

    Medicare parts A and B cover medically necessary PT. If you know youll need it in the coming year, having just these parts may meet your needs.

    If youre concerned about additional costs that arent covered by parts A and B, you may want to think about adding a Medigap plan. This can help to pay for things like copays, which can add up during PT.

    Part C plans include whats covered in parts A and B. However, they may also cover services that arent covered by these parts. If youll need coverage of dental, vision, or fitness programs in addition to PT, consider a Part C plan.

    Part D includes prescription drug coverage. It can be added to parts A and B and is often included in Part C plans. If you already take prescription medications or know that they may be a part of your treatment plan, look into a Part D plan.

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    Does Medicare Cover Inpatient Mental Health Treatment

    You must have Medicare Part A to be covered for inpatient mental health treatment at a general or psychiatric hospital. Medicare will pay for most of your inpatient treatment services. However, you may still owe some out-of-pocket costs depending on your plan and the length of your stay.

    Here are the basic costs for Medicare Part A:

    • $252458 premium, if you have one
    • $1,408 deductible
    • 20 percent of all Medicare-approved costs during the stay
    • $0 coinsurance for days 160 of treatment
    • $352 coinsurance per day for days 6190 of treatment
    • $704 coinsurance per day for days 91+ of treatment, through your lifetime reserve days
    • beyond your lifetime reserve days, youll owe 100 percent of the treatment costs

    Its important to note that while theres no limit to how much inpatient care you can receive in a general hospital, Part A will only cover up to 190 days of inpatient care in a psychiatric hospital.

    Do I Need To See My Primary Doctor Before Starting Therapy

    You do not need to see your primary doctor before starting therapy with a therapist who is in-network with Medicare. This is because Medicare does not require a referral before seeing a specialist, including a therapist.

    However, this only applies for Medicare providers. If you plan to see a non-Medicare accepting therapist, you will need to request prior authorization from Medicare before you begin your sessions. Once you receive authorization, youll understand how much coverage youll have, how much of the bill you are responsible for, and how long youll have access to this therapists services.

    Find vetted therapists who are in-network with Medicare

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    What Is Occupational Therapy

    OT can help you learn techniques to improve your fine and basic motor skills. It can also help you gain or maintain a high level of independence, which can lead to a better quality of life.

    For example, with training received through OT, you may be better able to open pill bottles, removing a barrier between you and the medications you need.

    In fact, a 2016 study showed that OT reduces hospital readmissions by supporting patient safety.

    How Much Will I Pay For Inpatient Physical Therapy Under Original Medicare

    Get More With Medicare Advantage

    When you receive physical therapy in an inpatient rehabilitation center, it’s included in the overall cost of your stay and is subject to the standard Medicare Part A cost structure.

    During days 1 through 60 in a hospital or rehab facility, you’ll pay the Medicare Part A deductible unless you already paid it within the current benefit period. After day 60, you pay coinsurance based on the length of your stay.

    • Other hospital services and supplies

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    What Inpatient Physical Therapy Does Medicare Cover

    Medicare Part A covers inpatient stays in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and some home care, as well as physical therapy at inpatient rehabilitation facilities. It may also cover in-home services if youre eligible for home care or services you receive at a skilled nursing facility after a three-day hospitalization.

    Your out-of-pocket costs, such as deductibles and coinsurance, depend on the treatment setting. For example, your share of the cost is different if you receive inpatient care in a hospital vs. a skilled nursing facility.

    Medicare Physical Therapy Cap 2022

    Until recently, Medicare had a cap on the number of physical therapy sessions you can have in a year. However, Medicare no longer enforces these physical therapy limits. Thus, you can have as much physical therapy as is medically necessary each year.

    However, the threshold amount that Medicare pays for physical and speech therapy combined is $2,150 before reviewing a patients case to ensure medical necessity. Once you meet this threshold, Medicare will still cover physical therapy services. However, they must be billed with unique codes to prove medical necessity.

    Find Medicare Plans in 3 Easy Steps

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    What Types Of Mental Health Conditions Does Medicare Cover

    Medicare covers all diagnosis-based mental health conditions. This means that your therapist will need to provide Medicare with a diagnosis of a mental health condition in order to receive reimbursement for their services.

    Examples of diagnosable mental health conditions include:

    How Do I Qualify For Coverage

    Medicare & You: Understanding Your Medicare Choices

    To qualify for speech therapy coverage, you must first be enrolled in Medicare. You will typically do this when you turn 65 years old or if you have a qualifying disability or medical condition, such as end stage renal disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

    You also must have the documentation from a physician stating that speech therapy is medically necessary for your situation. Your doctor may recommend an initial therapy course and then restate that ongoing therapy is medically necessary later.

    In addition, the speech therapist and facility you visit must accept Medicare-approved costs. To find out if a potential provider accepts Medicare, check Medicares provider search tool.

    Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans negotiate with speech therapists to set costs. The amount youre charged depends on:

    • the type of speech therapy
    • the facility where you receive therapy
    • how long you receive these services

    What you may pay will also depend on what part of Medicare is covering these services. Well take a look at some of the costs with each part next.

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