Therapy involving the use of stem cells is a new and exciting option within the medical community, and many patients can benefit from the use of stem cells in the treatment of disorders that include leukemia and Hodgkin’s disease.
Stem cells have also shown promise in the treatment of pain disorders, helping some patients with faster, more effective healing after an injury. This is especially comforting to those who deal with common joint problems, including those involving the knees. People suffering from ligament tears, arthritis and other joint-related health issues may be able to see positive results through the use of stem cell injections, and although this type of treatment technology is still available on a limited basis, the future of stem cell treatment appears to hold a great deal of potential.
Medicare Coverage for Stem Cell Therapy
Even though stem cells are currently being used to treat joint conditions, the therapy itself is still not approved by the Food and Drug Administration outside of treatment for select diseases. As a result, it is not covered under Original Medicare. This does not mean that Medicare will deny coverage for all stem cell therapies, but in most cases, stem cell treatments addressing joint pain will not be eligible for coverage at this time. With continued medical research, approval by the Food and Drug Administration for stem cell knee therapy could happen in the future, leading to changes in Medicare insurance coverage options.
Alternative Therapies for Knee Health
Even if you aren’t able to access stem cell therapy to treat knee ailments, Medicare insurance may still be able to provide coverage for traditional therapy solutions. Original Medicare does provide a benefit for physical therapy, and as of 2019, the program will provide coverage up to 80% once deductible amounts have been met under Part B. Physical therapy may be a solution for some individuals who simply need additional support while the body heals itself after an injury or surgery, but for others, physical therapy may be able to provide only temporary relief while other options are considered.
Pain management solutions may be able to alleviate some of your pain. Talk to your physician about the options available to you. Please keep in mind that pain medications come with serious potential side effects, and can be highly addictive. The opiod epidemic in the United States has encouraged physicians and patients to find alternative methods to combat chronic pain, but if pain medications are prescribed for you, follow directions carefully regarding dosage.
Medicare and Support Products for Knee Health
Medicare insurance may also provide a benefit under Part B for a knee brace or similar support device. These products are usually qualified as durable medical equipment and are available from a variety of companies. In order to obtain a knee brace under Medicare Part B, you will need to find a supplier in your area who accepts assignment and is participating in Medicare. Different regions have different prices based on competitive bidding, and this process will work to determine Medicare coverage.
After your deductible is met, Medicare will typically cover 80% of the cost of durable medical equipment. Keep in mind that durable medical equipment will need to be ordered by your physician and deemed medically necessary in order to qualify. Likewise, if you purchase a brace, it must come from an approved provider in order to qualify under Medicare. This means that you can’t simply go to a local retail store and purchase a brace off the shelf with the expectation that it will be eligible for Medicare coverage.