When discussing Medicare coverage for migraine relief, it’s important to understand the symptoms, causes and treatments related to this issue. Read below to learn more about how migraines occur and what remedies may be available to you.
Identifying Migraine Symptoms
The three primary differences between migraines and common headaches are the intensity, duration and frequency of symptoms. The U.S. National Library of Medicine describes four distinct stages of migraines:
- Prodome, the first phase. In this phase of a developing migraine, you may experience noticeable cravings for certain foods, difficulty regulating moods and increased yawning, urination and fluid retention. This phase can occur up to a day before other symptoms of a migraine become apparent.
- Aura, the second phase. Visual disturbances such as flashes of light, blind spots or distorted lines are hallmarks of this phase and can be debilitating even without pain. Other physical sensations may occur, such as weakness and feelings of being grasped or touched.
- Headache, the third phase. Migraine pain has been described as starting slowly and building to a severity that may include other symptoms such as vomiting, heightened sensitivities and intensified pain during movement.
- Postdrome, the fourth phase. The final phase of a migraine can extend over the course of a full day and may involve feeling depleted of energy and physically weak. Some cognitive abilities may be impaired during this phase, which could leave you feeling confused or out of sorts.
It’s important to note that you may not experience each stage during the onset of every migraine, but knowing these signs may help you to better identify how a migraine develops for you.
Understanding Migraine Triggers
Migraines can arise for a variety of reasons that can differ from person to person. Triggers in the environment around you can include bright lights, erratic weather or the presence of allergens and chemicals. Personal factors may include neurological or nutritional needs.
People who have a history of depression, anxiety and related disorders may be at an increased risk for migraines. Women who are experiencing hormonal changes may also be susceptible to developing migraine symptoms.
Migraine Treatment and Prevention
Your age, existing health needs and circumstances can all impact your experience with migraines and how a doctor determines the best treatment plan for you. Because there is no remedy that completely cures migraines, treatment focuses on symptom relief and the prevention of migraine development. A doctor may recommend a blend of clinical approaches and lifestyle changes to address your needs.
Medicare Coverage for Migraines
If you receive care for a migraine while in an emergency room or urgent care facility, these charges may fall under allowable coverage for Medicare Part A and Part B. Part A (Hospital Insurance) may help cover your care and services when you are formally admitted into a Medicare-approved hospital. Part B (Medical Insurance) will help cover the costs of medically necessary services in a doctor’s office or outpatient setting.
Part A and Part B help cover many medical expenses, but they do not include prescription drug coverage. A Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan or a Medicare Advantage plan that includes prescription drug coverage may be necessary to help you get the prescription medication treatment you need without overwhelming out-of-pocket costs.
Your doctor may recommend over-the-counter medication or alternative, prevention-focused treatments, as well. Typically speaking, Medicare insurance plans do not offer coverage for natural or alternative treatments like herbal supplements, massage therapy or acupuncture. Some Medicare Advantage plans do offer a benefit supplement that covers certain over-the-counter medications. Check with your MA plan directly for more detailed information.