Cataracts are a common eye issue that may arise as we age. This condition affects the lens of the eye, causing cloudy vision and hindering a person’s ability to read, drive, or do the activities they love. The symptoms may be only mild initially, but they often continue to worsen and require surgery to replace the damaged lens once quality of life begins to be affected. Medicare Supplement Part G is a Medigap plan, and it provides coverage to enhance the coverage of Original Medicare. After purchasing a Medicare Supplement policy, your cataract surgery may be almost completely covered, except for your annual deductible and your Part G premium payment.
What are Cataracts?
Cataracts occur when the lens in the eye becomes cloudy. For the person affected, this can feel like looking through a fogged-up window. Cataracts often develop slowly and may go unnoticed for a period of time. During the early stages of the condition, eye glasses or brighter environments can help your vision and prevent serious side effects from occurring.
However, as a cataract worsens, it can cause a variety of symptoms, including cloudy or blurred vision, difficulty seeing at night, having “halo” or double vision in one or both eyes, noticeable fading of colors, the need for increased lighting when reading or performing daily activities, and rapidly worsening vision requiring new eyeglass prescriptions regularly.
Cataracts occur naturally with aging, and some people may be at higher risk for developing cataracts due to genetics, a history of eye diseases or surgery, other diseases like diabetes or hypertension, or long-term use of steroid medications.
Cataracts affect the lens of the eye, which is located directly behind the iris, or the colored portion of the eye. The lens changes shape, allowing it to focus light so that images can be put into focus whether they are close or far away. With age, the lens can begin to harden and thicken. When cataracts occur, the lens begins to break down, and the broken pieces may start to clump together, leading to the cloudiness.
How are Cataracts Treated?
Cataract surgery is the main way to treat this condition, and the decision to pursue surgery is often taken when a person begins to notice a decline in quality of life due to their vision loss. Cataracts will continue to worsen if they are not repaired, but they will not cause any damage to the eye if they are left unattended. Because of this, immediate surgical repair is not required.
During the surgery, the cloudy lens is removed and replaced with an artificial lens. The new lens then becomes a permanent part of the eye. For some individuals with other eye diseases or conditions, an artificial lens may not be able to be used. In these cases, after the cloudy lens is removed, vision can be corrected using contact lenses or glasses.
Does Medicare Supplement Plan G Include Cataract Surgery?
Original Medicare insurance is made up of Part A and Part B. Since cataract surgery is often performed on an outpatient basis, Part B is the main source of Medicare coverage. Medicare Supplement Plan G is a Medigap plan that provides additional coverage compared to Original Medicare.
Medicare Supplement Plan G coverage includes Medicare Part A coinsurance and hospital costs, hospice care coinsurance and copayment, and the deductible. For Part B costs, Plan G includes coinsurance and copayment costs and excess charges; however, it does not cover the out-of-pocket costs of the deductible.
Since cataract surgery is often outpatient and covered by Part B, your Medicare Supplement Plan G will cover all associated costs, with the exception of your annual Part B deductible and your premium payments for your Medigap plan. The deductible and premium amounts can vary from plan to plan, so it is important to check with your provider to ensure you know the associated costs before pursing surgery.