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Medicare Coverage of Substance Abuse Services

Alcohol and substance abuse among those aged 65 and older has become a rapidly growing health problem. Our seniors are particularly vulnerable to these addictions because of the unique challenges they face within society and their own communities as they get older. This beloved part of our population tends to remain overlooked while more attention placed on substance abuse and alcoholism is focused on people in younger age groups. Oftentimes seniors will not seek help because many of them are concerned with how they will pay for treatment, and they often are not aware that Medicare will help cover the cost of treatment in both an inpatient and an outpatient setting.

The Causes of Addiction

According to there are many factors that contribute to why more and more seniors are turning to alcohol and substance abuse. Several examples could be:

  • The death of a loved one
  • Retirement/ Job Loss
  • Loneliness
  • Boredom
  • Health Concerns
  • Chronic Pain
  • Financial Hardships
  • The fear of getting older..  And more

Seniors also account for a large part of the population that take prescription drugs, and oftentimes more than one prescription at a time, increasing the risk of mistakes and drug interactions.

There Is Help Available

Regardless of the cause, there is help available to this hurting population of seniors. An answer page on offers the following breakdown of services that Medicare offers for those who seek help for their addiction:

  • Medicare Part A provides support for inpatient treatment and certain drug treatment centers that are able to accept Medicare.
  • Medicare Part B helps with payment for outpatient treatment through hospital and clinic outpatient centers
  • Part B can provide reference care through Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) provided in a doctor’s office.
  • Part B can help obtain screening and counseling for those who have not yet been diagnosed with an addiction but show signs of misuse of alcohol or drugs. This can be a helpful preventative benefit.
  • Part D can be used to help pay for medication that may be prescribed to treat alcohol and drug addiction.

If you suspect a loved one is abusing drugs or alcohol the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Inc has a list of symptoms to be on the lookout for.  

If you or your loved one is suffering with an addiction, offers a search option to guide you in finding a facility near you. 

Medicare is unlike any insurance you have ever had. It is important that you find a plan that best suits your needs and your unique situation and this is where we can help. By taking into consideration your particular needs, we can help you research all plan options available to you in your area so you can make an informed decision that is best for you. Give us a call today. 

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