As you age, vitamins and supplements can become more important. Healthcare providers may even recommend them for you. While Medicare does not usually cover vitamins and supplements, there are some exceptions.
What’s covered by Medicare?
Medicare Part B may offer coverage when your doctor prescribes them as a treatment for a condition. If you think you may need specific vitamins or supplements due to a health condition, talk to your doctor about what your options are with your coverage.
If your doctor prescribes you any of the following, Medicare Part B may cover the costs of these:
- Niacin (when prescribed to treat a condition like dyslipidemia, but not when used as a supplement)
- Prenatal vitamins
- Vitamin D analogs (Doctors can prescribe calcitriol, a man-made form of vitamin D, to treat/prevent conditions, like bone disease or low calcium levels.)
- Fluoride preparations
- Certain prescription drugs to treat weakness or loss of muscle mass due to HIV/AIDS
- Sodium, calcium, potassium, and magnesium (only when used to specifically boost electrolyte count)
Each Medicare Prescription plan has its own formulary or list of covered drugs, and some may offer coverage for certain vitamins and supplements. Generally, however, they are not covered.
When picking a plan that offers the coverage you are looking for, consider the enhanced alternative coverage. Enhanced alternative coverage means that a plan covers additional prescriptions not covered by your typical plan.
Under Medicare Part B, nutrition therapy may be covered if you suffer from diabetic kidney disease or had a kidney transplant in the last 36 months. If you get nutrition therapy, you may have coverage for vitamins and supplements.
If nutrition therapy is ordered by your doctor, you may not have to pay any of the costs if you are enrolled in Medicare Part B or Medicare Advantage.
Nutrition therapy can include:
- One-on-one nutrition counseling
- Nutrition and lifestyle assessment
- Follow-up visits to check on your progress
If you think that you may need to add any vitamins or supplements to your prescription list, talk to your doctor about the options that are available to you.
The following are the most commonly used supplements:
- Fish/marine oils
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B
- Vitamin C