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Does Medicare Cover Alzheimer Care?

Medicare Part B does cover important cognitive assessments necessary to confirm an Alzheimer’s and establish a care plan.

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More than 6 million people in the U.S. re living with Alzheimer’s, a disease that kills more people than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. 

Alzheimer's is a progressive disease and the most common type of dementia. It often starts with minor memory loss and can lead to the loss of the ability to control thoughts and language.

More than one in nine Americans ages 65 and older has Alzheimer’s — the sixth-leading cause of death in our country. And now, during the COVID-19 pandemic , Alzheimer's and dementia deaths have increased by 16%.

The Alzheimer’s Association projects that by 2050, Alzheimer’s will cost the U.S. more than $1.1 trillion.

Medicare Part B offers important coverage to combat this costly and incurable disease, including annual wellness visits, where your provider looks for signs of dementia, and a more thorough cognitive assessment to establish or confirm a diagnosis.

Providers or Medicare beneficiaries may wish to schedule an additional cognitive function review outside of the regular annual wellness visit. Here are a few questions you may have about the Alzheimer’s cognitive assessment.

Facts About the Alzheimer’s Cognitive Assessment

Why would I need a full cognitive assessment?

Your doctor will complete a general cognitive exam at your yearly wellness appointment. If they notice anything they’d like to further investigate, they’ll schedule a cognitive assessment for a separate appointment time to conduct a more thorough review. The cognitive assessment is also helpful to identify other conditions, like depression and anxiety, which can often affect cognition.

Who can offer a cognitive assessment?

Any clinician eligible to report evaluation and management (E/M) services can perform a cognitive assessment. This includes physicians, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists and physician assistants.

What happens during a cognitive assessment?

Typical cognitive assessments last about 50 minutes. Your doctor will perform an exam, talk to you about your medical history and come up with a plan to address and manage any symptoms of dementia or Alzheimer’s you may have. Your doctor can help you learn about resources available to you in your community, like support groups or rehab services. If necessary, you may be referred to a specialist.

Where can I get a cognitive assessment?

This important assessment is offered in an office or outpatient setting, at a private home or care facility, and, as of Jan. 1, 2021, Medicare has permanently covered cognitive assessments via telehealth .

Can I bring anyone to my cognitive assessment appointment?

Yes. Spouses, friends or caregivers are encouraged to join you at your cognitive assessment to help answer your doctor’s questions and take notes for you to review after your appointment.

How do I pay for the cognitive assessment?

Anyone with Medicare Part B is eligible for this assessment, and the Part B deductible and coinsurance will apply.

Medicare does cover Alzheimer's care, so call your doctor today to schedule a cognitive assessment.

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LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The above is meant to be strictly educational and not intended to provide medical advice or solicit the sales of an insurance product or service of any kind.