Blood pressure is one of the most important health signs to monitor. Your blood pressure is the force within your blood vessels that keeps the blood moving throughout your circulatory system. Blood pressure needs to be maintained at a certain level to ensure nutrient, oxygen, and waste transportation is effective.
Blood pressure monitors provide a critical and helpful tool to help track levels and ensure that you are healthy and that no additional health problems arise. Medicare insurance provides a few options that allow coverage for blood pressure monitors.
Why is Blood Pressure Important?
Blood pressure is controlled by the diameter of your blood vessels and the force with which the heart contracts. This pressure is highest in the heart and gradually lowers as the arteries work their way through the body. This change in pressure is what allows the blood to continually circulate. The blood vessels are also elastic in nature, allowing them to widen or tighten depending on blood flow and the changes in pressure.
Without a healthy blood pressure, your blood would not be able to transport oxygen and other nutrients to all areas of your body. This is important for keep your cells energized and healthy. Low blood pressure can also leave waste products and toxins in cells and important organs, such as the kidneys and liver. This can reduce functionality and lead to further health issues if left untreated.
What is a Healthy Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is measured using two numbers: systolic pressure and diastolic pressure. Each of these variables is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). Systolic blood pressure is the force at which blood is pushed through your arteries when the heart contracts to spread blood throughout the body. Diastolic pressure measures the force on the arteries when the heart is relaxed between contractions and is refilling with blood.
Blood pressure readings use systolic pressure for the first number and diastolic pressure for the second. In general, a healthy blood pressure should be at or below 120/80 mm Hg. If the systolic pressure rises above 130, it is referred to as hypertension. If left untreated, hypertension can lead to increased risk of a heart attack, stroke, or heart failure.
If your blood pressure is too low, reading at 90 or below for systolic and 60 or below for diastolic, it is called hypotension. This condition can cause dizziness, fainting, and low levels of energy.
Medicare Coverage for Blood Pressure Monitors
There are two main devices used to measure blood pressure: blood pressure cuffs and ambulatory blood pressure monitoring devices (ABPMs). Blood pressure cuffs are those often used at a doctor’s office or hospital. Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) will help cover the costs of your care, include blood pressure monitoring, if you have been formally admitted into a Medicare-approved hospital. Your Medicare Part B coverage includes preventive care and medically necessary services and supplies. If you visit your doctor, you will likely have your blood pressure monitored once while you are in the office. Medicare insurance does not generally provide coverage for blood pressure monitors for use in the home unless you meet specific criteria.
Medicare may provide coverage for a blood pressure monitor at home if you are receiving dialysis treatments at home. If this is the case, Medicare will provide a blood pressure cuff and a stethoscope to allow for blood pressure and heart rate monitoring during treatment. Medicare may also help cover a blood pressure monitor if a physician believes that an individual patient has inflated blood pressure readings in a doctor’s office or other medical facility. In these cases, physicians aim to attain more reliable readings using ABPM devices that take blood pressure readings multiple times over a 24-hour period at home.
Medicare Part C allows you to get your Part A and Part B benefits through a Medicare Advantage plan offered by private insurance companies that contract with Medicare. Medicare Advantage plans are required to provide the same coverage as Original Medicare, but many offer additional benefits at little to no extra cost.
If your Medicare coverage allows you to rent or purchase a blood pressure monitor for use in your home, you will likely have to get the equipment from a Medicare-approved supplier that accepts assignment. These suppliers have agreed to charge the amount determined by Medicare. If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you may have to visit an in-network supplier.