As we get older, arthritis becomes a natural part of life. Though rheumatoid arthritis is more severe in some individuals than others, it is one of the most common ailments among older adults. As a result, many Medicare beneficiaries and adults nearing retirement wonder whether Original Medicare covers arthritis treatment.

So, does Original Medicare cover arthritis treatment? If so, how much does it cover? We will answer both of these questions and more, but first, let’s look at some of the most common treatments for arthritis.

Common Treatments for Arthritis

Arthritis often causes joint pain, limited movement, and general discomfort. So, many older adults go to their doctor to see how they can treat the symptoms of arthritis. Here are a few of the most common treatment options:

  • Over-the-Counter or Prescription Medication – OTC painkillers like Advil, Tylenol, and Aleve are by far the most common treatment for arthritis-related pain. They are effective at lessening pain throughout the body. This is a good treatment no matter where you experience arthritis pain.
  • Topical Treatments – Topical creams and ointments can be used to treat arthritis in specific areas. For example, many people experience arthritis pain in the joints of the hand. Using special creams can soothe the pain and make it easier to use your hands freely.
  • Physical Therapy – In more severe cases, physical therapy may be necessary. This is especially true if arthritis makes it difficult to move (knee pain, ankle pain, etc.).
  • Surgery – When arthritis prevents you from living your daily life, surgery may be necessary. This could include repair or replacement of problematic joints.

Does Original Medicare Cover Arthritis Treatment?

Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer to this question, as it will largely depend on the type of treatment required. For example, if your doctor recommends OTC or prescription drugs, it will not be covered under Original Medicare. OTC drugs are always treated as an out-of-pocket expense, while prescription drugs require some form of prescription drug coverage, like Medicare Part D. Similarly, prescription topical treatments may only be covered with a prescription drug plan.

However, if you require physical therapy or surgery, it will probably be covered under Original Medicare. Medicare Part A covers all inpatient procedures and surgeries, while Medicare Part B covers all outpatient procedures, including physical therapy. As long as your doctor deems the therapy or surgery as “medically necessary,” Original Medicare will cover it.

The Bottom Line

Arthritis affects millions of older adults throughout the United States. While there’s no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, there are many treatments for adverse symptoms. Fortunately, if you have Original Medicare and a prescription drug plan, you’ll have coverage for just about any arthritis treatment you need.

If you’d like to learn more about arthritis treatment or your Medicare coverage options, feel free to fill out this form or give us a call anytime. Time for 65’s partnered licensed agents are focused on giving you the information you need, with zero pressure to enroll in a plan.