Melanoma is one of the most dangerous forms of skin cancer, and in many cases, it isn’t caught early enough to treat. Older adults should be particularly vigilant in monitoring for skin cancer to ensure that they get the treatment they need in a timely manner. While Medicare does cover some melanoma screenings, it doesn’t cover all of them. Here’s what you need to know about Medicare coverage for melanoma.

What is Melanoma? 

Melanoma is a specific form of skin cancer that affects the melanocyte cells. These are the second layer of skin cells in your epidermis, and they produce the pigment that gives us our skin tone. While melanoma is rarer than other forms of skin cancer, it is also more deadly. This is because it can spread through the body very quickly.

Melanoma is typically brown or black and often shows up as an abnormally-shaped mole or freckle. Melanoma can develop anywhere on the body, but is most common on the legs, chest, and back. People with lighter skin tones are at a higher risk for melanoma, but anyone can develop it. The area around melanoma growth may also start to swell or feel itchy. As melanoma develops, the area may even bleed or change texture. These moles are an indication that the cancer is growing and needs immediate medical attention.

Medicare and Melanoma Screenings

Older adults should get regular melanoma screenings to catch the disease early. Unfortunately, Medicare doesn’t always cover melanoma screenings.

If you have a mole or other spot on your skin that could be indicative of melanoma, Medicare will cover a screening with a dermatologist. However, Medicare Part A and Part B generally do not cover preventative screenings.

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you may be able to get a preventative melanoma screening covered. Since each Medicare Advantage plan is different, you’ll need to contact Time for 65’s licensed agents to determine exactly what is and isn’t covered.

It’s worth investing in a Medicare Advantage plan that covers preventative screenings for melanoma and other forms of skin cancer. Catching a melanoma growth early significantly increases your chances of beating the disease.

Melanoma Prevention Tips for Older Adults

There are some small lifestyle changes that you can make to lower your risk of melanoma. The biggest thing you can do to prevent melanoma is to lower your exposure to the sun’s UV rays. This is because roughly 86 percent of melanoma cases are associated with sun exposure. Wear sunscreen every day, and protect your eyes and face even further by wearing sunglasses and a hat while outdoors.

You should also monitor your moles and freckles for any changes. The first visible sign of melanoma is often a change in a mole’s size or shape. When this happens, contact your doctor right away, and they can refer you to the appropriate screening tests. Remember, screenings on a mole that has changed size or shape are covered by Medicare.

If you’d like to learn more about melanoma and Medicare coverage, feel free to fill out this form or give us a call anytime. Our licensed agents are focused on giving you the information you need, with zero pressure to enroll in a plan.