Does Medicare Cover Reclast for Osteoporosis Treatment?

Patients managing osteoporosis often wonder if Medicare assists with treatment costs. Regarding the medication Reclast, a common question is, does Medicare cover Reclast? The short answer is, yes, Medicare can cover Reclast under certain parts of the plan when it’s deemed medically necessary.

This article will guide you through the nuances of eligibility, coverage details under different Medicare plans, and other critical considerations for financing your osteoporosis treatment with Reclast.


Key Takeaways

  • Medicare may cover Reclast, an osteoporosis medication, depending on whether it’s furnished under outpatient services (Part B), as part of prescription drug plans (Part D), or through Medicare Advantage Plans, bearing in mind eligibility criteria and medical necessity.


  • The costs associated with Reclast treatment can vary, and patients will generally be responsible for a portion of the Medicare-approved amount; however, financial assistance programs and supplemental insurance can help with out-of-pocket expenses.


  • Medicare coverage extends to additional osteoporosis care services, including bone density testing and post-treatment care such as physical therapy and skilled nursing, with various eligibility criteria and frequency restrictions.

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Navigating Reclast Coverage Under Medicare

Reclast is a medication administered through injection designed to facilitate healing in bones that have sustained damage due to cancer, cancer treatments, or other factors contributing to postmenopausal osteoporosis.

Medicare may offer coverage for a subsequent infusion of Reclast if it is deemed medically necessary and given in an outpatient setting. You can consult agencies such as The Mair Agency or Medicaid services to determine your Medicare plan’s coverage for Reclast.

Navigating Reclast Coverage Under Medicare

Understanding Medicare’s specific coverage for Reclast requires a thorough exploration of the different Medicare plans. These include Medicare Part B, Medicare Part D, and Medicare Advantage plans. By exploring these plans, we can gain a comprehensive understanding of Reclast coverage under Medicare.

We’ll start with a look at:


  • Part B, which includes coverage for certain doctors’ services, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive services
  • Part D’s prescription drug coverage
  • Medicare Advantage plans, an alternative method of receiving Medicare benefits.


Understanding Part B Benefits for Reclast

Medicare Part B, also known as hospital insurance, provides coverage for 80 percent of the cost of Reclast infusion, leaving you responsible for the remaining portion. After satisfying the Part B deductible, you will be responsible for a coinsurance payment of 20% on the Medicare-approved cost for the Reclast infusion as part of your Medicare benefits.

The current Part B deductible for Reclast infusion is $240 for the year 2025. The Medicare-approved amount for Reclast infusion is determined by calculating 20% of the approved amount after the Part B deductible has been met for the year. This cost can vary based on several factors, including the location and type of healthcare facility.


The Role of Medicare Part D in Reclast Therapy

Medicare Part D is the segment of Medicare that specifically addresses prescription drug coverage. It assists in covering the expenses related to prescription drugs, reduces overall costs, and provides protection against increased expenses.

Bisphosphonates, the class of drugs to which Reclast belongs, are typically covered by Medicare Part D plans and Medicare Advantage plans with prescription drug coverage, which will cover a portion of the cost.

However, it’s worth noting that other osteoporosis drugs are covered under Medicare Part D as alternatives to Reclast. These may include ibandronate (Boniva), denosumab (Prolia), and occasionally calcitonin (Miacalcin). You can also consult the American Cancer Society for more information on osteoporosis treatment options.


When Medicare Advantage Plans Step In

A Medicare Advantage Plan is a health plan provided by private entities that enter into agreements with Medicare to deliver complete Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance) coverage.

In exchange for a predetermined sum paid by Medicare to these organizations monthly, these plans may offer additional benefits and establish distinct out-of-pocket expenses and regulations for the services they encompass.

Medicare Advantage Plans provide coverage for Reclast therapy if it is determined to be medically necessary and the individual has a qualifying condition such as osteoporosis.

The specifics of coverage may vary, but typically, if the Reclast therapy meets the eligibility criteria, it would be covered under Part B benefits, similar to traditional Medicare. In order to select an appropriate Medicare Advantage Plan for Reclast therapy, it is essential to confirm that the plan includes Medicare cover Reclast under Medicare Part B and to ascertain its medical necessity as determined by your healthcare provider.

The cost for Reclast therapy under a Medicare Advantage Plan typically ranges from 0% to 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for the drug, based on the individual plan’s structure and benefits.

Eligibility Requirements for Reclast Coverage by Medicare

Understanding how to navigate Medicare coverage for Reclast is only half the battle. It’s also crucial to understand the eligibility requirements. Specific criteria need to be satisfied for Medicare to provide coverage for Reclast infusion.


What osteoporosis medications are covered by medicare



It is essential to maintain documentation, such as history and/or physical examination notes, in the patient’s record to verify eligibility.

Establishing Reclast’s medical necessity under Medicare requires demonstrating the drug’s safety, effectiveness, and reasonable medical necessity, following Medicare’s coverage guidelines.

The utilization of Reclast may be deemed medically necessary under Medicare for the treatment of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women with a confirmed diagnosis, in accordance with Medicare’s criteria.

Understanding Medicare’s coverage for Reclast involves considering the main factors in risk assessments for osteoporosis drug therapy. These involve evaluating patient characteristics such as:


  • Gender
  • Degree of fracture risk
  • Additional risk factors like age, body mass index, previous fractures, familial hip fracture history, and use of glucocorticoids.


Medical Necessity: A Key Factor

‘Medical necessity’ encompasses healthcare services and supplies that are crucial for the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses, injuries, or conditions. Healthcare providers determine the medical necessity of Reclast by carefully selecting appropriate codes from the ICD-10-CM code book and assessing the patient’s serum creatinine and creatinine clearance.


Does medicare cover osteoporosis treatment



Reclast is prescribed for the treatment and prevention of glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis in men and women who are either initiating or continuing systemic, and for treatment to increase bone mass in men with osteoporosis.

Reclast is typically administered annually, meeting medical necessity requirements. However, using Reclast as a preventative measure without a confirmed osteoporosis diagnosis in postmenopausal women is not deemed medically necessary and hence, lacks Medicare coverage.


Risk Assessment for Osteoporosis Drug Therapy

Assessing the risk of osteoporosis-related fractures is an essential part of managing osteoporosis. This assessment considers factors including:


  • Age
  • Prior fracture history
  • Bone mineral density (BMD)
  • Parental history of hip fracture
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Low body weight


Patients who have experienced a bone fracture confirmed by a doctor to be related to osteoporosis and are at high risk for future fractures are eligible for Medicare coverage of Reclast.

In terms of how often these assessments should be conducted, it is advisable to perform osteoporosis risk assessments one to two years after commencing Reclast therapy, and then subsequently every two years to monitor the patient’s risk factors and bone mineral density.

Evaluating the risk of osteoporosis includes multiple stages: prevention, initial risk assessment, diagnosis, and treatment. Patients are advised to undergo testing one year after commencing or altering therapy, and subsequently every 2-3 years if their bone density remains constant.

Cost Considerations for Reclast Treatment with Medicare

Beyond understanding coverage and eligibility requirements, considering the costs associated with Reclast treatment under Medicare is also important. Here are some key points to consider:


  • The average cost of Reclast under Medicare Part B can vary from $200 to $1,000+ per infusion session.
  • If Medicare Part B covers your Reclast treatments, you will typically be responsible for paying 0% to 20% of the Medicare-approved amount.
  • In the event that Reclast is not covered by Medicare, the price for the intravenous solution (5 mg/100 mL) is approximately $1,259.


However, there are financial assistance programs accessible to aid in covering the expenses of Reclast. The Extra Help program is a financial assistance initiative intended to assist in covering prescription drug expenses for individuals with Medicare who have restricted income and resources.


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Despite the costs, remember that untreated osteoporosis can result in debilitating fractures and a significant reduction in quality of life, making the cost of Reclast a worthwhile investment in your health.


Deciphering Out-of-Pocket Costs

Reclast therapy’s out-of-pocket costs can fluctuate depending on the treatment plan, insurance coverage, healthcare facility location, and the patient’s individual circumstances. Without insurance, the usual out-of-pocket cost for Reclast therapy ranges from $200 to over $1,000.

However, supplemental insurance policies could potentially assist in decreasing the out-of-pocket expenses for Reclast therapy. It’s crucial to consult with your healthcare provider and Medicare plan to fully understand your potential out-of-pocket costs.


Financial Assistance Options

There are several financial assistance programs available to help cover prescription drug costs, including those for prescription medications like Reclast.

The Extra Help program provides support to individuals with restricted income and resources by reducing or eliminating Medicare Part D expenses. Additionally, Medicaid or Medicare Savings Programs have the capability to decrease the cost of Reclast for individuals with restricted income and resources, thereby enhancing the accessibility of the treatment.

Other financial assistance options include the Reclast Patient Assistance Program, offered by Novartis Pharmaceuticals, and non-profit organizations like the HealthWell Foundation, which extend aid with the expenses for osteoporosis medications like Reclast. They furnish financial support to cover prescription drug coinsurance for eligible individuals.

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Additional Services Related to Osteoporosis Care

Alongside understanding Reclast’s coverage and costs, awareness of additional osteoporosis care services is important. These include bone density testing and post-treatment care. Bone density testing for osteoporosis entails the utilization of X-rays to quantify the quantity of calcium and other bone minerals in a section of bone, thereby aiding in the assessment of bone strength and the risk of fractures.

Medicare Part B provides coverage for bone mass measurement every two years if the individual is at risk for osteoporosis and has a referral from their healthcare provider.

Along with testing, post-treatment care is essential for managing osteoporosis. This can include physical therapy and skilled nursing services, such as a home health nurse, which may be covered by Medicare. Physical therapy can help improve strength and balance, reducing the risk of falls and fractures, while skilled nursing services can provide specialized care for those who need assistance with daily activities.

In the following sections, we’ll explore bone density testing and post-treatment care in more detail, considering how Medicare covers these services.


Bone Density Testing and Medicare

Medicare provides coverage for a bone mass screening test, or bone density test, once every 24 months for eligible beneficiaries, and more frequently if medically necessary. In order to be eligible for coverage of a bone mass test under Medicare, beneficiaries must meet specific criteria.

These tests are conducted to officially diagnose osteoporosis and evaluate the effectiveness of drug therapy for this condition by identifying bone mass and quality. Medicare may provide coverage for a range of procedures to test bone density, based on the individual requirements of the beneficiary.


Post-Treatment Care: Physical Therapy and Skilled Nursing

Medicare will provide coverage for medically necessary physical therapy for osteoporosis following Reclast treatment. Medicare Part B provides coverage for essential outpatient physical therapy services, including those related to osteoporosis, if they are recommended by a physician.

Additionally, Medicare Part A may provide assistance in covering the expenses associated with skilled nursing services following Reclast therapy, provided that the individual is formally admitted as an inpatient at a hospital or skilled nursing facility. Skilled nursing plays a role in facilitating recovery after Reclast treatment by offering specialized care and support with daily activities.

Medicare provides coverage for skilled nursing care in a facility for a maximum of 100 days per benefit period. There is no specific limit on the amount Medicare will pay for outpatient therapy services within one calendar year.

How to Access Reclast Therapy Through Medicare

How often will medicare pay for prolia injections Having explored the coverage, eligibility requirements, costs, and additional services, we can now discuss accessing Reclast therapy through Medicare.

When seeking guidance on Reclast therapy under Medicare, it is advisable to inquire about the rationale behind the recommendation from your doctor and the coverage provided by Medicare. It is important to collaboratively assess the medical necessity of Reclast for your specific condition with your healthcare provider.

To receive Reclast therapy under Medicare, individuals must meet the eligibility criteria for Medicare Part B and qualify for Medicare home health services, including a doctor’s certification of a bone fracture related to osteoporosis.

The expenses associated with Reclast therapy under Medicare usually entail a payment of 0% to 20% of the Medicare-approved cost after the Part B deductible has been met. Nevertheless, the precise cost may vary.



By discussing Reclast therapy with your healthcare provider, understanding the eligibility requirements and costs, and exploring additional services and financial assistance options, you can navigate the complexities of Medicare coverage for Reclast.


In conclusion, understanding Medicare coverage for Reclast can be complex but is crucial for those who need this vital medication for osteoporosis treatment.

By discussing with your healthcare provider, understanding the eligibility requirements and costs, and exploring additional services and financial assistance options, you can make informed decisions about your health. Remember, untreated osteoporosis can result in debilitating fractures, making the cost of Reclast therapy a worthwhile investment in your health.

Frequently Asked Questions



What is the average cost of Reclast infusion?

The average cost of a single Reclast infusion session could range from $200 to $1,000+ without insurance, and may vary based on location and healthcare facility.


Are osteoporosis infusions covered by Medicare?

Yes, Medicare covers osteoporosis infusions such as Reclast if deemed medically necessary for the treatment of osteoporosis. It also covers injectable osteoporosis drugs for eligible individuals meeting specific criteria.


Is zoledronic covered by Medicare?

Yes, zoledronic acid (Reclast) is covered by Medicare for the treatment of osteoporosis.


How many years can you get Reclast infusions?

You can receive Reclast infusions once per year for treating osteoporosis, and once every two years for prevention. After 3 to 5 years, your healthcare provider may consider stopping the prescription and prescribing a different osteoporosis treatment.


Is reclast covered by medicare?

Yes, Medicare can cover Reclast under certain conditions, so it’s important to consult with your healthcare provider and Medicare to confirm coverage and understand any potential costs.

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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.