Vitamins and supplements are taken by people the world over to aid in a healthy lifestyle, and many seniors find that these products can provide a range of potential benefits when combined with a balanced diet and adequate exercise. Of the many and varied vitamin and supplement options available, vitamin B12 may offer added energy, support for the brain and relief from anemia. In addition, some people claim that vitamin B12 can provide weight control advantages in combination with a healthy lifestyle. Although vitamin B12 is often taken orally, it may also be administered as a shot to experience benefits faster and for longer periods of time.
How Medicare Can Help
It is possible that Medicare benefits may be used to provide access to B12 shots through Part A and Part B under certain circumstances. If your Medicare-approved doctor determines that it is medically necessary to administer a B12 shot, it may be covered by Part B. If you have been formally admitted into a hospital, reside in a skilled nursing facility, or hospice and your physician orders a B12 shot as medically necessary treatment, Part A (hospital insurance) may help cover the costs.
Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage can include a variety of drugs that are covered under individual plans; however, there are certain medical treatments that are expressly excluded by Part D, including vitamins, minerals and supplements. This means that vitamin B12 is not covered under Part D as an injection or as an oral tablet. Additionally, many over-the-counter medications are excluded as a part of Medicare Part D regulations, so medical therapies that may include B12 are also generally not covered if they are not a part of your drug plan’s formulary, or list of covered drugs.
Although Medicare does not cover B12 shots under Part D, seniors may still be able to receive access to these injections at little or no cost under a plan utilization management program. This type of program is usually administered by the plan provider and allows Medicare recipients to receive consideration for treatments that are not traditionally offered under Medicare Part D. In many cases, a request will need to be submitted to the plan provider outlining the medical necessity of such treatments in order to receive the added benefit.
Medicare Advantage (MA) plans are offered by private insurance companies that contract with Medicare to provide your Part A and Part B benefits. Many MA plans provide additional coverage, including prescription drug coverage, and help paying for supplements and over-the-counter medications. Medicare Advantage plans can vary. Check with your plan to find out more about your specific benefits. Your Medicare plan may also offer wellness training, nutritional therapy, and counseling.
Talk With Your Physician About Dietary Changes
Although vitamin supplements and shots are a convenient way to receive an added boost when a deficiency exists, you should discuss natural vitamin intake strategies with your physician. He or she will be able to evaluate your specific needs and offer nutritional advice to increase B12 naturally. Keep in mind that some health conditions may require more than dietary changes in order to improve, but your doctor can point you in the right direction to get and stay as healthy as possible. You should also speak with your doctor prior to beginning any type of supplement regimen on your own, and it would be beneficial to bring your supplements with you to all doctor visits for review.