Does Medicare Cover Osteoporosis Treatment?

Questioning, ‘Does Medicare cover osteoporosis treatment?’ Medicare typically covers screen tests, medications, and therapies for osteoporosis.

This article unpacks which treatments you can expect to be covered and the eligibility criteria essential for your benefits. We’ll clarify the murky waters of healthcare coverage, giving you the knowledge you need to make informed decisions about your osteoporosis care.


Key Takeaways

  • Medicare provides coverage for a variety of osteoporosis treatments, including biannual screenings, a range of injectable and oral medications, and physical therapy, contingent on meeting eligibility criteria like age, gender, or medical history.


  • Specific health conditions must be met to access Medicare-covered osteoporosis treatments, with Part B covering screenings and some medications, and Part D primarily handling prescription drug coverage, which varies by plan.


  • Coordination with healthcare providers, understanding the various aspects of Medicare coverage, and exploring financial assistance programs are essential steps for managing osteoporosis effectively with Medicare.

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Medicare and Osteoporosis: What's Covered?

Osteoporosis is a silent assailant, often revealing itself only when a bone fracture occurs. This chronic condition predominantly affects older adults, with postmenopausal women being at an increased risk. Good news, though—Medicare offers coverage for a variety of osteoporosis treatments, including screenings, injectable drugs, and physical therapy.

However, to qualify for these benefits, certain eligibility criteria need to be met. These may include age, gender, or a medical history that predisposes one to osteoporosis.

Physical therapy, a key strategy in managing osteoporosis, is covered by Medicare. If a physician deems it medically necessary, physical therapy can be an integral part of your osteoporosis treatment plan, helping to increase strength, flexibility, and potentially slow the progression of the disease.


Medicare and Osteoporosis- What's Covered?

Medicare Part B Coverage

Medicare Part B, commonly known as medical insurance, serves as a reliable partner in combating osteoporosis. It provides coverage for osteoporosis screenings every 2 years, injectable medications, and physical therapy.

This provision allows for a bone density screening every two years, or more frequently if medically necessary, given that certain conditions are met.

Beneficiaries need to meet specific health conditions to access Medicare-covered bone density screenings every two years. Furthermore, Medicare also covers both oral and injectable osteoporosis drugs, although the extent of the coverage is dependent on your specific plan.


Medicare Part D Coverage

Medicare Part D ensures coverage for prescription drugs, particularly for osteoporosis treatment. Not only does it cover oral medications, but injectable osteoporosis drugs as well. In some cases, a home health nurse may even be covered by Medicare to administer these injectable drugs.

The coverage for osteoporosis medications is partially or fully provided by Medicare Part D, with specific details varying by plan. To verify your coverage, it’s advisable to thoroughly review the drug list (formulary) of your Medicare plan. If you’re a qualified Medicare beneficiary, you may even be eligible for additional assistance with medication costs.


Medicare Advantage Plans

For comprehensive osteoporosis coverage, Medicare Advantage plans are a solid choice. These plans offer coverage for osteoporosis screenings, treatments, and medications, along with supplementary benefits not available in Original Medicare.

Medicare Advantage plans provide coverage for bone density screenings without applying deductibles, copayments, or coinsurance, provided you seek services from an in-network provider and meet Medicare’s eligibility criteria for these screenings.

If you’re a low-income Medicare beneficiary, you may also qualify for additional assistance with out-of-pocket costs. To be eligible, you must visit an in-network provider and fulfill Medicare’s criteria for these services, which may include being at risk for postmenopausal osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis Treatment Options Covered by Medicare

Navigating through Medicare can feel overwhelming, particularly when managing a chronic condition like osteoporosis. But fear not, as Medicare provides coverage for a variety of treatment options. These encompass oral medications, injectable treatments, and physical therapy. However, individuals with end-stage renal disease may have different coverage options and limitations.


What diagnosis covers bone density for medicare



Medicare covers oral medications for osteoporosis containing active ingredients such as:


  • alendronate
  • ibandronate
  • risedronate
  • raloxifene


However, factors such as co-morbidities, cataracts, ischemic heart disease, and high overall medication cost status can impact the initiation of oral osteoporosis drug therapy under Medicare Part D. Women who take a higher number of non-osteoporosis drugs also demonstrate an increased probability of initiating therapy.


Oral Medications

Medicare Part D, a prescription drug plan, covers oral medications, which are a fundamental part of osteoporosis treatment. The coverage usually includes bisphosphonates, a class of drugs that slow down the process of bone loss, thereby reducing the risk of fractures.

There’s an interesting statistic that emerged from a study related to Medicare beneficiaries and osteoporosis drug therapy. The initiation rate of oral osteoporosis drug therapy among female Medicare Part D beneficiaries is:


  • 24.35% for non-Hispanic white women
  • 48.17% for Asian/Pacific Islander women
  • 35.2% for Hispanic women
  • 23.31% for African American women


Only about 23% of beneficiaries with diabetes, ischemic heart disease, or rheumatoid/osteoarthritis began oral osteoporosis drug therapy. These conditions are associated with increased risk of osteoporosis.


Injectable Treatments

Despite the preference for oral medications among many, Medicare coverage also includes osteoporosis injectable drug treatments. Specific treatments such as Prolia (denosumab) are covered under Original Medicare, providing a ray of hope for many battling this brittle bone disease.


How much does medicare pay for bone density test



However, to qualify for Medicare Part B coverage of injectable osteoporosis treatments, individuals need to:


  • Be enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B
  • Have supplemental coverage such as Medigap (may have to pay extra premiums)
  • Once the yearly Part B deductible is met, Medicare Part B covers 80% of the Medicare-approved costs for injectable osteoporosis treatments.


Physical Therapy for Osteoporosis

Physical therapy frequently forms a core component of osteoporosis management. It can help in improving strength, flexibility, and balance while reducing the risk of falls and fractures. Medicare does provide coverage for physical therapy if the individual has experienced a recent bone fracture or is dealing with chronic pain or mobility issues associated with osteoporosis.

The coverage for physical therapy sessions and related out-of-pocket expenses is contingent upon the details of your Medicare plan. Does medicare cover physical therapy?

The expenses for physical therapy under Medicare will vary based on your Part B deductible, which is $226 in 2023 and will increase to $240 in 2024.

Managing Osteoporosis with Medicare

Managing osteoporosis with Medicare necessitates a thorough and multi-dimensional strategy. It involves taking preventative measures, coordinating care with healthcare providers, and exploring financial assistance programs. Medicare provides coverage for a bone density screening once every two years if certain conditions are met.

Collaboration with healthcare providers is key in managing osteoporosis. It ensures that patients receive appropriate screenings, medications, and therapies covered by Medicare. This approach also helps in tailoring a comprehensive treatment plan that aligns with the coverage guidelines of Medicare.

In terms of financial assistance, individuals can consider programs like Medigap and Medicare Savings Programs, which can potentially assist in covering the out-of-pocket costs associated with osteoporosis treatment that are not entirely covered by Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage plans.


Preventative Measures

Preventative measures are your first line of defense against osteoporosis. Consuming calcium and vitamin D is crucial in the prevention of osteoporosis, as they play a vital role in maintaining bone strength and facilitating calcium absorption.


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Along with dietary changes, it is also recommended to consult a doctor for osteoporosis prevention at least once a year for monitoring bone density and BMD testing.

Regular check-ups are significant in preventing osteoporosis as they facilitate early detection and treatment of high-risk patients with antiresorptive medications, and optimize bone health throughout life.


Coordinating Care

Coordinating care with healthcare providers is the cornerstone of effective osteoporosis management. It involves:


  • Focusing on patient-reported experiences
  • Following IPCHS strategies
  • Implementing organizational initiatives
  • Promoting evidence-based care management and coordination
  • Utilizing fracture liaison services and multidisciplinary programs for post-fracture patient care.


Primary care physicians play a crucial role in coordinating care for osteoporosis patients. They make recommendations for physical activity, nutrition, and lifestyle adjustments, prescribe appropriate medication, and refer patients to specialists when necessary. Specialists can enhance the coordinated care of osteoporosis under Medicare by offering specialized treatment and management plans, including prescribing osteoporosis drugs and supervising preventive services.

Care coordinators can play a crucial role in managing osteoporosis treatments under Medicare by minimizing missed appointments, promoting treatment adherence, and optimizing preventive and chronic care. Regular medical appointments facilitate the monitoring of the condition, adjustment of treatment plans, and access to preventive services and medications.


Financial Assistance Programs

Financial assistance programs like Medigap and Medicare Savings Programs can be a lifeline for individuals struggling to meet the out-of-pocket costs associated with osteoporosis treatment. Medigap policies assist with the coverage of out-of-pocket expenses related to osteoporosis treatment services that fall under the purview of Medicare Parts A and B.

To apply for Medicare Savings Programs and receive financial assistance for osteoporosis medications and treatments, follow these steps:


  1. Reach out to your state authorities to understand the eligibility criteria.
  2. Review income guidelines to ensure you meet the requirements.
  3. Gather all the required documents, such as proof of income and resources.
  4. Fill out the application form accurately and completely.
  5. Submit the application and await a response from the program to determine your eligibility for assistance.

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Navigating Medicare Enrollment for Osteoporosis Coverage

Medicare enrollment marks a significant milestone in osteoporosis management. It involves comparing plans, understanding costs, and seeking assistance from insurance agents or Medicare representatives.

It is crucial to compare Medicare plans to identify the most suitable coverage options and benefits for osteoporosis treatments that are tailored to an individual’s specific healthcare needs and budget.

Reviewing the Plan Characteristics files allows for assessment of osteoporosis coverage in a Medicare plan. Enrolling in a Medicare plan offers a convenient and cost-effective solution, as it assists in reducing the financial strain of osteoporosis treatments by providing coverage for a substantial portion of the treatment expenses.


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For personalized assistance with enrollment and coverage options for osteoporosis treatments, you can reach out to insurance agents or Medicare representatives.


Comparing Plans

Key factors to consider while comparing Medicare plans for osteoporosis coverage include:


  • Existing insurance
  • Physician’s fees
  • Physician’s acceptance of assignment
  • Inclusion of bone density tests
  • Coverage of osteoporosis medications
  • Total cost of the plan


Many individuals with osteoporosis prefer Part D plans and specific Medicare Advantage plans due to their coverage of popular osteoporosis medications, including:


  • Alendronate (Fosamax)
  • Ibandronate (Boniva)
  • Risedronate (Actonel, Atelvia)
  • Injectable drugs like Prolia
  • Bone density tests


Medicare Part B offers comprehensive coverage for osteoporosis, including:


  • Certain doctors’ services
  • Outpatient care
  • Medical supplies
  • Preventive services
  • Payment for osteoporosis drugs like Prolia
  • Bone mass measurements
  • Screenings
  • Injectable drugs
  • Physical therapy


Understanding Costs

It’s vital to comprehend the costs linked to osteoporosis treatment under Medicare. Medicare Part B provides coverage for 20% of the Medicare-approved cost for osteoporosis treatment after the deductible has been met. Meanwhile, Medicare Part D offers coverage for the most commonly prescribed osteoporosis medications, with costs that are dependent on the specific plan.


How much does prolia cost with medicare



Out-of-pocket expenses for osteoporosis treatments encompass the Part B deductible, which amounts to $226 in 2023 ($240 in 2024), along with any supplementary expenses for medically necessary physical therapy. Following the satisfaction of the Part B deductible, Medicare Advantage plans generally provide coverage for 80% of the expenses related to outpatient osteoporosis treatment.

In the year following a fracture, healthcare expenses can surpass $30,000, with an average of $3,000.


Navigating Medicare coverage for osteoporosis doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Understanding the coverage details across Part B, Part D, and Medicare Advantage plans, exploring the range of treatment options, effectively coordinating care, and tapping into financial assistance programs can make this journey smoother.

Remember, regular check-ups and preventative measures are crucial. With the right knowledge and approach, managing osteoporosis with Medicare can be a seamless experience.

Frequently Asked Questions



How often will Medicare pay for Prolia injections?

Medicare will pay for Prolia injections once every six months for eligible osteoporosis patients, effectively fighting bone-reducing cells in their bodies *Random date*.


How often does Medicare cover bone density?

Medicare Part B covers bone density measurements every two years if you are at risk for osteoporosis and have a referral from your provider. It can be covered more often if medically necessary.


How much does it cost to treat osteoporosis?

Treating osteoporosis can cost up to $19,330 for medical services within 12 months, with pharmacy costs averaging around $140 when only osteoporosis treatments received at the pharmacy are included. Fractures can have an estimated mean impact of $8,600 on annual medical costs, leading to a significant national cost of $14 billion.


What is the best treatment for osteoporosis?

The best treatment for osteoporosis is bisphosphonates, such as alendronate, ibandronate, or risedronate, as they are the most commonly prescribed drugs that effectively increase bone density and reduce fracture risk. Bisphosphonates should be used as the first-line therapy in both women and men with osteoporosis.


What osteoporosis treatments are included in Medicare coverage?

Medicare covers osteoporosis screenings, injectable drugs, and physical therapy based on specific conditions.

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Russell Noga
( Medicare Expert )

Russell Noga is the CEO of ZRN Health & Financial Services, and head content editor of several Medicare insurance online publications. He has over 15 years of experience as a licensed Medicare insurance broker helping Medicare beneficiaries learn about Medicare, Medicare Advantage Plans, Medigap insurance, and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans.