Adequate nutrition is integral to a healthy lifestyle, but when facing certain diseases, such as AIDS or cancer, proper nutrition plays an even more vital role in preserving life. Additionally, nutrition plays a key part in recovery after surgery or after a serious traumatic injury. Many people will require an altered diet in these and other medical circumstances, including when hospitalized or when temporarily staying in a skilled nursing facility.

There are many ways to achieve the desired result of improved and increased nutrition, but one that is often used due to its efficiency is the addition of supplemental or modular nutrients. These are additives that are combined with existing nutrition through food and drink to enhance the availability of nutrients while adding extra nutrition to aid the body in recovery.

The overall benefit of supplemental food additives is that they offer protein and carbohydrates in addition to increased calories, all of which are important when recovering from injury or fighting a disease that could lead to muscle wasting. While there are a number of brands of these products on the market, one of the more popular options is Juven.

What is Juven?

Juven is a powder that is combined with regular nutrition to improve the body’s natural processing of foods. This powder is sold over-the-counter and is available in various flavors. Unlike pre-made nutritional supplement drinks like Ensure, Juven can be added to both food and beverages at home or while being cared for by medical staff. The dose required differs from patient to patient, and Juven is not meant to be a food substitute.

Does Medicare Cover Juven?

Medicare Part A provides coverage for medical care in a hospital setting upon admittance or while in a skilled nursing facility. These stays are meant to be temporary, and there are restrictions on the length of time Medicare will pay for a skilled nursing facility. Because Juven may be a part of nutritional care while staying at one of these medical facilities, Medicare may cover the cost of Juven if it can be demonstrated that the supplement is medically necessary. In order to receive coverage, other methods of nutrient delivery may need to be attempted first, and the patient may need to be in a position where the next step would be something more serious, such as the insertion of a feeding tube.

Does Medicare Cover Home Use of Juven?

Because Juven can typically be purchased at nutrition retailers or pharmacies, it can be used at home; however, home use generally will not be covered by Medicare. The program usually does not cover supplements that a patient decides to take on his or her own, and because Juven can be purchased without a prescription, it might fall under this category when self-administered.

Juven may be covered if a physician orders the treatment as medically necessary. It should also be noted that, although Juven can be purchased from a retailer with a pharmacy attached, the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit does not apply to the purchase. Medicare Part D only covers prescription medications and only within certain guidelines.

Medicare Advantage plan recipients may be able to receive additional benefits in the form of reimbursements for products or services that bolster nutrition. Although Medicare Advantage still applies the restrictions of Original Medicare on many treatment options, it is possible that a Medicare Advantage plan provider may have the ability to offer discounts on over-the-counter products through negotiated deals with manufacturers. To learn more, contact your Medicare Advantage plan manager.

Discuss Your Nutrition With Your Doctor

Whether or not you have Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan, it’s imperative to discuss your nutrition needs with your doctor before making any changes to your diet and nutrient intake. This is even more important if you are fighting a serious illness as certain conditions and medications can greatly impact how your body processes nutrients. If you decide to begin using a product like Juven on your own, your doctor also needs to be made aware so that future medical screening results can take into account the change in nutrient levels.

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