Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD, is a common chronic lung condition that blocks the lungs and makes it difficult to breathe. November is National COPD Awareness Month. Over time, COPD can cause irreversible damage to the lungs as well as frustrating respiratory symptoms. Regular respiratory screenings and early COPD treatments can help you manage the symptoms of COPD. Medicare plans can provide the coverage you need to treat COPD – here’s what you need to know.

What is COPD? 

COPD happens as a result of ongoing respiratory issues that block the airways and make it difficult to breathe. Chronic bronchitis and emphysema are two common conditions that contribute to ongoing COPD. The most common symptoms of COPD include having trouble breathing, ongoing cough and wheezing, frequent colds, and increased mucus production. It’s also common for COPD patients to feel fatigued as a result of these symptoms. Over time, COPD can lead to more serious health conditions, most notably lung cancer and heart disease.

COPD and Medicare

Medicare Part A and Part B cover some aspects of COPD screening and treatment. Medicare Part A covers hospital stays, so if you need in-patient treatment for COPD, you will likely be covered. Medicare Part B covers a range of other medical treatments, including a yearly lung cancer screening for older adults ages 55 to 77 or patients that meet certain conditions. Part B also covers a number of common COPD treatments, including smoking cessation counseling and necessary oxygen equipment.

There are also medications that can help to manage COPD symptoms. To get coverage for medication, you will need a Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan. Medicare Part D is designed specifically to cover prescription drugs. Medicare Advantage is a broader supplement plan provided by private insurance companies. Many Medicare Advantage plans offer prescription drug coverage as well as more comprehensive coverage for COPD treatments.

How Can I Prevent COPD?

The best way to prevent COPD is to reduce your exposure to carcinogens and other harmful airborne irritants. Smokers are significantly more likely to develop COPD than non-smokers, so taking steps to quit smoking can make a big difference for your long-term health. If you can, you should take steps to avoid exposure to chemicals at your workplace, as well as secondhand smoke and areas that are prone to air pollution.

Bottom Line on COPD and Medicare

If you have COPD, getting regular treatments can help you manage your symptoms more effectively and live a healthy life. A comprehensive Medicare plan can cover your COPD treatments as an older adult. If you’re interested in Medicare, our licensed insurance brokers can help you find the plan that’s right for you. Fill out this form or give us a call today to learn more about how we can help.