Understanding Parkinson’s & Medicare

April 11 is World Parkinson’s Day, a day to raise awareness about this debilitating disease. According to the National Parkinson’s Foundation, there are approximately 1.5 million Americans living with this disease, with 60,000 new cases joining the count each year. This condition usually affects people 65 years and older, and progresses in 5 stages. If you have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, are in the beginning stages of the disease, or have a family history of it, you might be wondering exactly what Medicare covers when it comes to this condition. Medicare covers quite a lot to improve the quality of life of those suffering from Parkinson’s, but there are some out-of-pocket costs.

What Is Parkinson’s?yellow nerve cell with purple in the middle

Parkinson’s disease is a neurological progressive disorder that is caused by the degeneration of cells in the nervous system. The exact cause of this degeneration is not known, but scientists believe it is the result of external and genetic factors. Men are 1.5 times more likely to develop the disease, and many usually develop symptoms around age 60. The life expectancy for those with the condition is anywhere between 10 and 20 years after being diagnosed.

What Are The Symptoms?

Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease are both motor and non-motor and include:

  • Tremors of the hands, arms, legs, or face
  • Slow movements
  • brain in puzzle pieces connected except for one middle part off and placed to the side
    Memory loss is one of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

    Gradual loss of spontaneous movement (bradykinesia)

  • Impaired balance
  • Lack of coordination
  • Reduced sense of smell
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Memory issues
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Difficulties with urination
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Vision changes
  • Increased salivation and sweating

The 5 Stages Of Parkinson’s

Parkinson’s disease lowers levels of dopamine in the brain, and causes the death of nerve cells in the brain. Because of this, it affects multiple areas of the body, causing tremors and loss of spontaneous movement. The disease progresses in 5 stages, which will affect the sufferer in the following ways:

caucasian woman sitting in a wheelchair at a table
A person with stage 5 Parkinson’s will most likely be confined to a wheelchair.
  • Stage 1: Individuals will experience mild symptoms that do not interfere with daily activities. Tremors will occur on one side of the body, with possible changes in walking and facial expressions.
  • Stage 2: Symptoms get worse with tremors now occurring on both sides of the body, and normal daily activities will take longer to accomplish. 
  • Stage 3: Symptoms include loss of balance and slowness of movements, and will hinder daily activities such as getting dressed and eating.
  • Stage 4: Symptoms are severe: the individual might be able to stand without help, but will need a walker in order to get around. At this stage, a person with the condition will no longer be able to live alone and will need assistance.
  • Stage 5: Symptoms include stiffness in the legs, making it impossible to stand or walk. The individual will need a wheelchair or could be bedridden at this stage, and will require nursing care at all times. Severe symptoms may include delusions and hallucinations.

Treatment & Medicare Coverage

Unfortunately, there is no treatment that can delay the progression of Parkinson’s disease. There are, however, ways to effectively manage the disease, including medications, surgeries, and lifestyle modifications such as healthy eating and exercise

Medicare covers medically necessary treatments including medications, therapy, and hospital stays if a surgical procedure is performed. Part A will cover any inpatient hospital care, surgical procedures, hospice care, skilled home health visits, and limited skilled nursing facility care.

Medicare Part B will cover outpatient services such as doctor appointments, screenings, any tests needed, limited appointments with home health aides, durable medical equipment, occupational and physical therapy, speech therapy and mental health services

Medicare will not cover long-term care. 

While you will be covered as long as you receive care from a Medicare-approved provider, you will still have some out-of-pocket expenses. Medicare Part A has a deductible of $1,484 for each benefit period, and if you stay in the hospital for longer than 60 days, you will have to pay coinsurance for each day past the 60 days. Part B’s monthly premium is $148.50 and the annual deductible is $203. After you meet your deductible, you will be responsible for paying 20% of covered services. ten dollar bill on top of a twenty dollar bill and more bills.

Medicare Supplement Plans

Medicare Supplement Plans can help pay for the 20% coinsurance that you will be required to pay when receiving treatments. This 20% can add up quickly, but with a Medicare Supplement Plan, those costs will be covered, which will help you save money throughout the year. Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disease, which unfortunately means that it will only continue to get worse, and will require extensive treatment over time. This can become quite costly, and medical bills are  the last things you should not have to worry about while dealing with this debilitating disease.

There are 10 different Medicare Supplement Plans to choose from that vary in price and coverage, and an EZ.Insure agent can help you go over the benefits of each one. We provide you with your own agent who will compare quotes of all available Medicare Supplement Plans for you for free. We are dedicated to helping you save money and getting the coverage you need to help improve your overall quality of life. To get free instant quotes, simply enter your zip code in the bar above, or to speak directly with one of our licensed agents, call 888-753-7207.