Urinary incontinence, or loss of bladder control, is an embarrassing problem and can be more common among older adults. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, almost 35% of female and 25% of male Medicare beneficiaries suffer from incontinence, but it is not an inevitable part of aging. Even though it can be a difficult conversation to have, you should talk to your doctor about chronic incontinence and any discomfort and pain it may cause. Find out how your Medicare coverage can help improve your quality of life by addressing underlying medical issues that may be contributing to incontinence.
There are different types of urinary incontinence:
- Stress incontinence – Pressure on the bladder due to sneezing, coughing, laughing, or exercising
- Urge incontinence – May be caused by a minor condition or infection or a more severe condition such as diabetes or a neurological disorder
- Overflow incontinence – Frequent dribbling of urine
- Functional incontinence – Caused by a physical or mental impairment
- Mixed incontinence – Caused by multiple factors
Medicare Coverage Can Help Determine Underlying Medical Issues
Although Medicare does not generally cover incontinence supplies or adult diapers outside of nursing homes, it may provide the coverage you need to find out what is causing the incontinence. Your physician may order certain tests to rule out or discover any underlying medical issues that may be contributing to a loss of bladder control.
If you are enrolled in Medicare Part B, your office visits and any services and supplies deemed medically necessary by a physician who accepts assignment, will be covered. You will likely pay 20% of the Medicare approved amount and will be responsible for the Part B deductible. A Medigap policy may help pay for some of the out-of-pocket costs that Original Medicare does not, including deductibles, coinsurance and copayments. Original Medicare and Medigap plans do not include prescription drug coverage, so if your physician determines that you would benefit from medication to address an underlying medical condition, you may want to consider enrolling in a stand-alone Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) to help pay for them.
Medicare Advantage plans are required to provide the same benefits as Original Medicare, but some may offer additional benefits for their enrollees, including prescription drug coverage. Check with your plan to discuss coverage details or compare plans during your next enrollment period. Benefits and costs can vary, so take the time to find the Medicare insurance plan that is right for you.