Diabetic Foot Care - Doctor and Senior

Diabetic Foot Care

If you have diabetic condition, Medicare Part B covers foot care – the furnishing and fitting of therapeutic shoes and inserts once a year. Part B pays for the following each calendar year:

  • One pair of custom-molded shoes and inserts
  • One pair of extra-depth shoes
  • Three pairs of inserts for extra-depth shoes

After that, Medicare covers two additional pairs of inserts for custom-molded shoes. Alternatively, Medicare will cover shoe modifications instead of inserts.

Diabetic Foot Care - doctor exams the foot of senior man
Doctor exams the foot of senior man.

Cost of Therapeutic Shoes and Insets

Medicare will cover 80% of the cost of therapeutic shoes and inserts under the following conditions: Doctor and supplier must accept Medicare assignment. We advise you to ask your doctor and supplier the following:

Do you accept Medicare assignment?

If the answer is “Yes,” they are “participating” and accept Medicare assignment. Otherwise, Medicare.gov says, “there’s no limit on the amount they can charge you.”

Moreover, you must pay the Part B deductible of $198 in 2020.

Diabetic Foot Care - doctor trims toenails of senior
Doctor trims toenails of senior woman.

Qualifying Foot Doctors

Part B will only cover 80% of the Medicare-approved amount if a qualifying foot doctor prescribes the shoes and inserts. Furthermore, this qualified doctor must certify you need therapeutic shoes or inserts. The doctor must be one of the following:

  • Podiatrist
  • Orthotist
  • Prosthetist
  • Pedorthist
Diabetic Foot Care - Doctor and Senior

What else does Medicare cover for diabetes?

In addition to diabetic foot care, Medicare covers the following:

Read an informative summary of what Medicare covers for diabetes to help you decide what Medicare services are most relevant for you.

Medicare Plan G Benefits

Medicare Covers Cardiovascular Disease Screenings

In this MedicareBob Wellness Wednesday video, Robert Bache explains how Medicare covers cardiovascular disease screening. Robert says, “Medicare allows you to do a very basic cardiovascular screening with your doctor for free.” Medicare.gov calls this Cardiovascular behavioral therapy. It covers an annual visit with your primary care doctor. As Robert says in his video, “you will have no out-of-pocket costs to see your doctor.”

Read this article to learn how seniors are at risk for heart disease, how to get free blood pressure checks from your doctor, and how to get free blood tests.

Seniors at Risk for Heart Disease

According to the National Institute on Aging (NIH), seniors “are much more likely than younger people to suffer a heart attack, have a stroke, or to develop coronary heart disease and heart failure. As you get older, fatty deposits may buildup in the walls of your arteries. This plaque buildup narrows your arteries and causes a “hardening of the arteries” called Arteriosclerosis.

Furthermore, Arteriosclerosis makes it harder for blood to flow through your arteries. As a result, MedlinePlus.gov says, “clots may form in these narrow arteries and block blood flow.” Moreover, “pieces of plaque can also break off and move to smaller blood vessels, blocking them.”

Cardiovascular disease screening Medicare - atherosclerosis illustration
Arteriosclerosis is a narrowing of the coronary artery

High Blood Pressure and Medicare

Cadiovascular disease screening Medicare - doctor takes blood pressure of senior
Doctor checks the blood pressure of a senior

The MayoClinic.org states the amount of blood your heart pumps, and the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries determines blood pressure. For example, when you exercise, your heart beats faster and pumps more blood raising your blood pressure. Likewise, arterial blockages from Arteriosclerosis narrows your arteries and increases your blood pressure.

You can have high blood pressure without any symptoms. Thus, Medicare Part B covers Cardiovascular Behavioral Therapy, which includes your doctor checking your blood pressure once a year. Furthermore, your doctor may discuss aspirin use and making sure you are eating well. In addition to annual blood pressure checks, Medicare covers cardiovascular screening blood tests every five years.

Medicare Cardiovascular Disease Screening

With Medicare Part B, you can get a free blood test for cholesterol, lipid, and triglyceride levels every five years. However, if you need your blood tested more often, Medicare only covers 80%. Thus, you pay the remaining 20%. Watch the MedicareBob FAQ Friday video, and find out how to get 100% Medicare coverage on blood tests as often as you need them.

The MayoClinic.org states, “high levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol in your blood can be a sign that you’re at increased risk of having a heart attack.” Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is the “bad” cholesterol that causes plaque to buildup in your arteries. Conversely, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) is the “good” cholesterol because it removes the “bad” cholesterol. Furthermore, high triglyceride levels can also increase your risk of heart disease.

Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease

In summary, you can lower your risk of heart disease by having your doctor check your blood pressure once a year and your blood every five years. Watch a Wellness Wednesday video and discover warning signs and medical conditions that may lead to heart disease.

Does Medicare cover knee replacement?

Medicare Knee Replacement

In this Medigap Monday video, Robert Bache answers the question, “Does Medicare supplement plan G cover knee replacement?” Watch the video and discover how Medicare Supplement Plan G covers total knee replacement surgery. Then continue reading to learn how Medicare Plan G pays for your knee replacement recovery. Moreover, find out about surgical complications and inpatient costs.

Outpatient Knee Replacement

In most cases, knee replacement is an outpatient procedure. So, like every other outpatient procedure, Medicare covers 80% of your knee replacement costs.. If you have a Medicare supplement plan G, you pay $198 Part B deductible in 2020. Once you pay the annual one-time Part B deductible, the plan G supplement pays the remaining 20% of your outpatient procedures. Moreover, plan G covers your knee replacement recovery.

Knee Replacement Recovery

Recover from knee replacement often includes physical therapy rehab and doctor follow up visits. Since you already paid the Part B deductible and you have Medigap Plan G, you will not have any copays or follow up fees. As long as you go to a provider that accepts Medicare, 100% of all your outpatient medical services are covered. In some cases, knee replacement may result in surgical complications.

Does Medicare cover knee replacement - doctor and senior with knee condition
Doctor examines senior with a knee condition

Knee Replacement Complications

After outpatient knee replacement, you may have surgical complications. For example, according to Heathline, a small percentage of older adults may develop the following medical complications:

  • About 1 percent develop an infection
  • Less than 2 percent develop blood clots

 Moreover, anesthesia may cause the following adverse effects:

  • breathing difficulties
  • allergic reactions
  • nerve injury

If any of these medical conditions develop after knee surgery, a hospital may admit you as an impatient. 

Senior in a hospital bed after knee surgery

Inpatient Knee Replacement

Medicare Part A does cover 80% of your inpatient knee replacement cost after you pay the Part A deductible of $1408 in 2020. If you have Medigap Plan G, this Medicare supplement pays 100% of your Part A deductible. Furthermore, supplement plan G pays the 20% coinsurance not covered by Original Medicare. If you plan to have total knee replacement surgery, a Medicare Supplement Plan covers all the costs saving you lots of money.

How to Upgrade to a Medigap Plan

If you have Original Medicare, you can upgrade to a Medigap Plan by calling Senior Healthcare Direct at 1-855-368-4717 or get a quote. If you have Medicare Advantage, you have two Medigap Enrollment Periods.

Does Medicare cover knee replacement - before and after illustration
Knee replacement before and after illustration
United Airlines Coronavirus

United Airlines Coronavirus

The coronavirus has caused turbulent times for United Airlines and the airline industry. The rise of COVID-19 cases, currently over 7 million in the US, has stalled its recovery. Read this article to discover which jobs United Airlines plans to cut and how a Medicare plan can help.

On September 2, 2020, CNBC reports:

United Airlines plans to cut more than 16,000 jobs as coronavirus continues to hammer demand, and federal aid runs out this fall.

On the bright side, the job cut number is far less than the 36,000 jobs United warned in July. Moreover, the Coronavirus relief package prohibits airlines from cutting jobs or pay rates through September 30.

United Airlines Coronavirus

Update: United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby will cut 13,000 jobs.

United Airlines Coronavirus - pilots wearing face masks
2,850 United Airline pilots at risk of losing their job

United Airlines Job Loss

United Airlines’ job loss comes from thousands of volunteers who accepted buyouts and early retirement packages. As a result, more than 7,000 United Airlines employees have separated from the company. These United Airlines employees voluntarily left their jobs.

Since April 2020, United Airlines employees have avoided terminating jobs through temporary leaves of absence and voluntary pilot furloughs (unpaid time off). However, starting in October, employees will be at risk of losing their jobs?

United Airlines plans to cut 16,370 jobs which include:

  • 6,920 flight attendants
  • 2,850 pilots
  • 1,400 management jobs
  • 2,010 mechanics
  • 2,260 airport operations

However, according to a Reuters article on May 15, 2020, United Airlines only needs 3,000 of 25,000 flight attendants. Thus, unpaid time off is likely for most flight attendants.

About 7,000 flight attendants may lose their jobs

Forced Retirement and Medicare

United Airlines Coronavirus - flight crew wearing face masks
United Airlines flight crew wearing face masks

The Coronavirus Pandemic may cause United Airlines to terminate your employment and force your retirement. Furthermore, if you are a senior age 65 or older and United Airlines cuts your job, you will lose your group health coverage. Then, according to Medicare.gov, you have two months after you lose coverage to join a Medicare Advantage or Part D drug plan.

During this two-month Special Election Period, you can enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan with drug coverage or a stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. Before you join either Medicare plan, you must first apply for Medicare Part B.

Helping You Apply for Medicare Part B

In this video, Robert Bache shares how Senior Healthcare Direct has streamlined the application process to help you apply for Medicare Part B. Furthermore, we can help you find the right Medicare plan. For example, we can help you with Medicare Advantage, Supplement, or Part D prescription drug plan. Call us at 1-855-368-4717 or get your quote.

Diabetes Self Management Education

Diabetes Self Management Education

The American Diabetes Association reports Diabetes Self Management Education (DSME) improves hemoglobin A1c by up to 1% in people with type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, DSME reduces the onset and advancement of diabetes complications. Moreover, it empowers you to eat healthier, exercise more regularly, and better cope with and manage your diabetes. Medicare.gov calls this education Diabetes Self Management Training (DSMT).

Nutrition is the foundation for better health. Eating foods with little starch such as broccoli, cauliflower, and asparagus keeps your blood sugar levels low. However, eating starchy foods such as potatoes, white rice, and refined carbs increases your blood glucose levels.

What are refined carbs?

Refined carbs include sugars and refined grains. For example, sucrose (table sugar) and high fructose corn syrup are refined sugars. Likewise, white flour is a refined grain in foods such as bread, pasta, and pastry. Refined carbohydrates such as white spaghetti have a high glycemic load of 21 that causes a sharp increase in blood sugar levels.

Avoid starchy food such as french fries
Avoid refined grains such as white spaghetti

What is the glycemic load?

According to the global diabetes community at Diabetes.co.uk, Glycemic load is defined as follows:

Glycemic load is a measure that takes into account the amount of carbohydrate in a portion of food together with how quickly it raises blood glucose levels.

For example, you can reduce the portion size to decrease the number of carbohydrates and lower the glycemic load. You can calculate glycemic load by using the formula below:

Glycemic Load (GL) = Glycemic Index (GI) x carbohydrates / 100

Every food has a GI, which you can look up. Nutrition labels have the amount of carbohydrates per serving. If white spaghetti has 43 grams of carbs per serving and a glycemic index of 49, then glycemic load is 21. The University of Sydney defines a high glycemic load at 20 and over. However, you can reduce your spaghetti glycemic load by eating less than 1 cup (the serving size).

You can lower your glycemic load by serving food on a salad plate. The smaller portion fills the plate. As a result, you feel more satisfied with less food. Conversely, you would feel less satisfied with a larger plate that’s half empty.

Lower Glycemic Load with smaller portions
Lower glycemic load with smaller portions

Diabetes Self Management Education

When a doctor diagnoses you with diabetes, Medicare Part B pays for Diabetes Self Management Training (DSMT). Then Medicare may cover up to ten hours of initial DSMT. This diabetes self-management education consists of one hour of individual training and nine hours of group training. Furthermore, you may qualify for up to two hours of follow-up training each year. Moreover, you may be able to get DSMT services from a Registered Dietitian through Medicare Telehealth.

When you participate in Diabetes Self Management Training, you pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount. Furthermore, the Part B deductible of $198 in 2020 applies. Finally, you must have a written order from your doctor or a qualified non-doctor practitioner to get DSMT.

Diabetes Self Management Training group
Medicare covers 9 hours of DSMT group training

What else does Medicare cover for diabetes?

In addition to Diabetes Self-Management Education, Medicare covers the following:

To help you decide what Medicare services are most relevant to you, read an informative summary of what Medicare covers for diabetes.

Diabetes Self Management Education - happy senior couple

Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program

You can prevent type 2 diabetes with the Medicare diabetes prevention program. If your diabetes screening result is pre-diabetes, you qualify for this proven health behavior-changing program. According to Medicare.gov, this program is free if you meet the following conditions:

  • Pre-diabetes test results: A1C 5.7% to 6.4%, fasting plasma glucose 110-125mg/dL, or 2-hour glucose tolerance 140-199mg/dL within 12 months of your first core session
  • Overweight: BMI of 25 or more (23 if Asian)
  • Never diagnosed with type 1 or 2 diabetes or ESRD
  • Never participated in the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program
Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program - blood drawn
Senior gets blood drawn for diabetes screening

Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program

Medicare Part B pays for this program when you meet all of the conditions above. It includes 16 core sessions in a group setting for six months. Furthermore, you get the following benefits:

  • Training to make realistic, lasting behavior changes
  • Tips on how to get more exercise
  • Strategies for controlling your weight
  • A behavior coach, specially trained to help keep you motivated
  • Support from people with similar goals
Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program - seniors walking
Walking helps prevent type 2 diabetes

Program Goals

The goal of the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program is to prevent type 2 diabetes in individuals with pre-diabetes. According to CMS.gov, the 16 intensive “core” sessions of a CDC approved curriculum provides the following:

  • Practical training in long-term dietary change
  • Increased physical activity
  • Behavior change strategies for weight control

The primary goal is at least 5 percent weight loss by participants. 

Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program - senior weightloss goal

Lifestyle Coach and Program Details

The program includes a lifestyle coach to help you set and achieve realistic goals, keep you motivated, and manage stress. You can meet group members and the lifestyle coach in-person or online. During the first six months, you meet once a week, and you can talk privately with your lifestyle coach.

As a group, you will discuss the challenges you face in losing weight, eating healthy, and increasing your physical activity. Moreover, your coach will help you overcome obstacles in the way to your success. Finally, this program is proven to work with thousands of people.

Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program - lifestyle coach in classroom
Lifestyle coach in-person classroom setting

What else does Medicare cover for diabetes?

In addition to the Diabetes Prevention Program, Medicare covers the following:

To help you decide what Medicare services are most relevant to you, read the informative summary of what Medicare covers for diabetes.

Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program - happy senior couple

What does Medicare cover for diabetes?

Medicare does cover diabetes prevention, treatment, and supplies. The 2020 National Diabetes Report published by the CDC estimates the prevalence of diabetes. Among the US population in 2018, 34.2 million people of all ages (10.5%) had diabetes. However, adults with diabetes increased with age. The prevalence of seniors age 65 or older with diabetes is 26.8%. In other words, 1 out of 4 seniors has diabetes.

What does Medicare cover for diabetes - 1 in 4 seniors have diabetes in us

Type 2 Diabetes Prevention

You can prevent type 2 diabetes. The Havard school of public health says, “prediabetes and type 2 diabetes is largely preventable.” Moreover, lifestyle changes can lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program provides seniors with health behavior changes to help you prevent type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes Prevention Program

Medicare Part B covers a once in a lifetime diabetes prevention program. To qualify, you must meet all of the following conditions:

  • Test positive for Prediabetes within 12 months of your first meeting
  • Overweight: BMI of 25 or more (23 if Asian)
  • Never diagnosed with type 1 or 2 diabetes or ESRD
  • Never participated in the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program

If you meet all of the above conditions, Medicare will pay for the diabetes prevention program. According to Medicare.gov, it “is a proven health behavior change program to help you prevent type 2 diabetes.” Moreover, the program includes 16 core sessions in a group setting for six months. Learn more about the benefits of this program.

What does Medicare cover for diabetes - prevention program seniors walking
Walking can reduce your risk of diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes Screening

Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disease that results in high blood glucose levels. When your body does not produce enough insulin – a hormone that regulates sugar into your cells – or your body resists the effects of insulin, you have type 2 diabetes.

Since 1 in 4 seniors have type 2 diabetes and “often there are no symptoms” (WebMD), diabetes screening can help you avoid serious complications. Medicare pays for diabetes screening when you meet certain risk factors. Learn more about Medicare diabetes screening.

What does Medicare cover for diabetes - blood glucose meter
Blood glucose meter tests your blood sugar levels

Diabetes Self Management Education

Medicare Part B pays for Diabetes Self-Management Training (DSMT) when a doctor diagnoses you with diabetes. This diabetes self-management education includes one hour of individual training and nine hours of group training. Furthermore, you may be able to get DSMT services from a Registered Dietitian through Medicare Telehealth.

Discover what you pay for Diabetes Self Management Training and what you need from your doctor. Moreover, learn how diabetes self-management education can improve your blood glucose levels so you can reduce the onset and advancement of diabetes complications.

What does Medicare cover for diabetes - Diabetes Self Management Education

Medicare Diabetic Supplies

Medicare Part B covers blood sugar self-testing equipment and supplies. Discover which durable medical equipment (DME) Part B covers to test your blood glucose levels. Furthermore, learn which Medicare diabetic supplies Part D covers for the administration of insulin.

Diabetes Eye Care

If you have diabetes, Medicare Part B covers diabetic eye exams once a year. Furthermore, Part B also covers glaucoma tests every 12 months. Medicare pays 80% for this diagnostic eye care, and you must pay your Part B deductible of $198 in 2020. Moreover, you also have a copayment when you get these tests in an outpatient setting.

Diabetes Eye Care - eye exam chart

Diabetic Foot Care

If you have diabetes, Medicare Part B covers therapeutic shoes and inserts. Discover the question you need to ask your doctor and supplier before you order therapeutic shoes or inserts. Furthermore, learn which qualifying doctors can prescribe shoes and inserts for your diabetic foot care.

Diabetic Foot Care - shoe insert

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes and have a lower extremity wound from diabetes, Medicare Part B covers Hyperbaric Oxygen (HBO) Therapy. During HBO therapy, you lay down inside a chamber with increased atmospheric pressure and oxygen. The increased supply of oxygen can help wounds heal. For example, HBO therapy helps heal diabetic foot wounds.

Medicare Part B pays 80% of HBO therapy, and you pay the remaining 20% and the Part B deductible of $198 in 2020. Since many HBO therapy treatments are needed to heal diabetic wounds, we recommend getting a Medicare Supplement such as Plan G.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy - doctor communicates with senior inside chamber
Doctor communicates with senior inside a hyperbaric oxygen chamber.

Medicare Diabetes Screening

Type 2 Diabetes

In this MedicareBob video, Robert Bache shows you diabetes type 2 warning signs and how Medicare diabetes screenings can help you avoid serious health issues. For example, screening may help people avoid long-term damage to the eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart, and blood vessels. Furthermore, webmd.com says, “people with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes have a significantly higher risk for stroke, coronary heart disease, and peripheral vascular disease.”

Robert says you can get the diabetes screenings every two years. However, Robert misspoke. The video’s graphic shows, “you may be eligible for two diabetes screenings each year.”

What is Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disease and the most common form of diabetes. According to Medicinenet.com, people with type 2 diabetes have high blood sugar (glucose). In a healthy person, insulin controls your blood glucose levels. For example, you eat carbohydrates, and your blood glucose levels rise. Then your pancreas releases insulin to normalize your blood’s glucose level. 

However, a person with type 2 diabetes eats carbohydrates, and their pancreas produces an inadequate amount of insulin to normalize glucose levels. Consequently, the person gets high blood sugar, also called hyperglycemia. Alternatively, the Mayoclinic.org says, “with type 2 diabetes, the body resists the effects of insulin – a hormone that regulates sugar’s movement into your cells.” 

Medicare Diabetes Screening - blood glucose meter

Blood Glucose Meter tests your blood sugar levels

Free Medicare Diabetes Screening

According to Medicare.gov, it costs you nothing for Medicare diabetes screening when your doctor determines you are at risk for diabetes or diagnosed with pre-diabetes. You can get free lab tests two times per year if you have any of the following diabetes risk factors:

  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • History of abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels (dyslipidemia)
  • Obesity: BMI of 30 or greater
  • A history of high blood sugar (glucose)

Furthermore, Medicare pays for two diabetes screenings per calendar year if two or more of the following pre-diabetes conditions apply to you:

  • Age: 65 or older
  • Overweight: BMI over 25 and less than 30
  • Family History: your parents or siblings have diabetes
  • Pregnancy History: you have a history of diabetes during pregnancy, also called gestational diabetes
  • Heavy Baby: you delivered a baby weighing more than 9 pounds

Moreover, according to CMS, if a doctor diagnoses you with pre-diabetes, your screenings must be at least six months apart. However, if you were previously tested but not diagnosed with pre-diabetes, or this is your first test, you are eligible for one diabetes screening test per year. 

Diabetes Screening Tests

The most common Medicare diabetes screening is a fasting plasma glucose test (FPG) followed by a 2-hour glucose tolerance test. The FPG test measures your blood sugar level after fasting, not eating or drinking (except water, tea, black coffee – no sugar) for at least 8 hours. According to CMS definitions, you have pre-diabetes when your fasting blood glucose is 100 to 125 mg/dL. Moreover, you have diabetes when your fasting blood glucose is 126 mg/dL or greater on two different occasions.

After the doctor takes a sample of your blood to measure your fasting blood glucose level, you drink a glucose solution that contains 75 grams of sugar. Then after two hours, your blood is tested. According to Mayoclinic.org, a normal blood glucose level is lower than 140 mg/dL. You have pre-diabetes with a blood glucose level between 140 and 199 mg/dL. Finally, you have diabetes with a blood glucose level of 200 mg/dL or higher.

If you test positive for diabetes, Medicare pays for a second screening to confirm the diagnosis.

Medicare Diabetes Screening - Glucose Tolerance Drink

What else does Medicare cover for diabetes?

In addition to diabetes screening, Medicare covers the following:

To help you decide which Medicare services are most relevant to you, read the informative summary of what Medicare covers for diabetes.

Medicare Diabetes Screening - happy senior couple
Hepatitis B Symptom - yellow eyes

Does Medicare pay for Hepatitis B vaccine?

Does Medicare pay for Hepatitis B vaccine

If you are at medium or high risk for Hepatitis B, Medicare Part B does pay for your Hepatitis B vaccine. Please check with your doctor to see if you are at high or medium risk for Hepatitis B. Therefore, if you are at risk, you pay nothing for Hepatitis B shots.

Please read this article to learn about Hepatitis B and how it spreads. Moreover, discover the symptoms and the difference between acute and chronic Hepatitis B.

What is Hepatitis B?

In this Medicare & You Hepatitis video, Denise Sieron from CMS defines Hepatitis as follows:

Hepatitis is a medical condition defined by the inflammation of the liver and characterized by the presence of inflammatory cells in the organ tissue.

Furthermore, Denise says, “Hepatitis may occur with few or no symptoms.” However, it “can lead to jaundice, nausea, and in some rare cases, death.” Moreover, “some forms of Hepatitis may eventually cause cirrhosis and liver cancer.”

Hepatitis B Transmission

Medicare does pay for the Hepatitis B vaccine, which prevents liver infection by the Hepatitis B virus (HBV). According to the CDC, “Hepatitis is spread when blood, semen, or other body fluids from a person infected with the virus enters the body of someone who is not infected.” So how do people transmit the HBV virus? 

Hepatitis B Transmission occurs through the following methods:

  • Sexual contact with an infected person
  • Sharing needles, syringes, or other drug-injection equipment
  • Exposure to an infected person’s blood

You can become infected with HBV when in direct contact with the blood of an infected person. For example, unsterilized needle at a tattoo parlor, body piercing, or blood transfusion. If you become infected with Hepatitis B, you may or may not show symptoms.

Hepatitis B Transmission - senior man has blood transfusion
Senior man has blood transfusion

Hepatitis B Symptoms

You may be infected with Hepatitis B and not show any symptoms. However, for those who do, symptoms may include the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Poor appetite
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Jaundice

Jaundice is when your skin and the whites of your eyes turn yellow. A build-up of bilirubin causes the yellow color of the skin and eyes.

Most adults and seniors can clear the HBV virus from their system. However, other people continue to have a life-long illness. 

Hepatitis B Symptom - yellow skin
Hepatitis B Symptom - yellow eyes

Acute Hepatitis B

According to the CDC, Acute Hepatitis B is a short-term illness where the Hepatitis B virus leaves the body within six months. You may have an “acute” infection for only a few weeks. Some people may have no symptoms or only mild illness. For other people, the Hepatitis virus may cause serious health problems and hospitalization. 

Chronic Hepatitis B

Suppose you cannot clear the HBV virus from your system. In that case, you can have a life-long infection called chronic Hepatitis B. The CDC says, “almost all adults infected with the Hepatitis B virus recover completely and do not develop chronic infection.” 

Medicare does pay for the Hepatitis B vaccine

When you are at risk for Hepatitis B, Medicare Part B pays for the Hepatitis B vaccine. Thus, it costs you nothing! If you do not have Medicare Part B, you can apply for Part B.

You may have Hepatitis B and show no symptoms. Consequently, you could unknowingly pass the HBV virus to someone through sexual contact or sharing needles. However, if you show Hepatitis B symptoms, your skin and the whites of your eyes may turn yellow. Almost all infected seniors recover entirely and do not develop chronic infection.

Other Medicare Vaccine Coverage

In addition to the Hepatitis B vaccine, Medicare does pay for other vaccine coverage. For example, Medicare Part B provides seniors with Flu Shot and Pneumococcal vaccines. Furthermore, Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage Plan with drug coverage pays for the Shingles vaccine.