Medicare approves braces and devices when medically necessary to treat or maintain a medical condition. Orthotic devices like braces are otherwise known as Durable Medical Equipment. Braces may be used to support the knee, neck, arm, or back. Combining the use of orthotic devices with other treatments may delay the need for a surgical procedure. Benefits and prices may vary among plans. Costs may also change depending on where you purchase the device and the type.
Does Medicare Cover Back Braces
The formal terminology for a back brace is lumbosacral orthosis. When a medical condition requires it, all back braces are under Medicare coverage. Coverage for back braces and supports include lumbosacral orthoses. The purpose of a lumbosacral orthosis is to support the muscular and bony aspects of the spine.
Medicare-approved back braces such as lumbosacral orthotics may provide extra stability while restricting the movements of the torso and spine.
Does Medicare Cover Lumbar Back Braces?
Darting can hinder or worsen your condition. Back braces are often vital when treating compression fractures and relieving acute and chronic pain. Back braces help treat a wide range of conditions, and your plan likely covers the cost. Commonly, treatments include post-surgical procedures. ‘
Plans may pay for a lumbar back brace when used to assist the healing process.
Does Medicare Cover Knee Braces
Part B may cover the costs of knee braces if you meet the criteria set by Medicare. The term durable means the device can handle repeat-usage over some time (3+ years). Medicare requires knee braces to provide therapeutic at-home benefits. As with other devices, your doctor must document an appropriate diagnosis that shows the need for the equipment.
Your plan may cover an alternative to knee replacement like therapy, using a brace, or injections. Part B covers 80% of the approved amount for DME, vaccinations, and therapeutic services.
A prescription from your doctor is generally adequate for coverage. However, in some situations, Medicare may require prior authorization before paying for DME.
Every injection comes with a specific cost. Talk to your plan directly to determine the allowable amount for a procedure or injection.
What are the Four Types of Medicare Approved Knee Braces?
Medicare coverage includes four types of knee orthotics. Devices must help manage stability or give pain relief and allow the patient to carry out daily functions.
Rehabilitative – Certain knee braces protect ligaments/tendons after surgery while allowing the joint to move. These rehabilitative devices also protect from potential reinjury.
The DME must be a functional and rehabilitative device for coverage to apply. Knee orthotics must also aid a patient’s healing process of joint or neighboring tissue after an injury or surgery.
Functional – A pre-injured knee may be the result of a fall, sporting injury, or trauma to the area. A functional brace provides joint stability for an otherwise unstable knee.
Functional braces offer knee support after an operation. It also may decrease pain and increase performance while wearing the device.
Unloader or Off-loader – Knee pain is most commonly due to osteoarthritis. Unloader/off-loader braces take the stress off the knee.
Many find pressure relief caused by arthritic joints when using these DMEs.
Such pressure can impact other areas of the leg beside the knee. Unloader braces limit the patient’s side movements, forcing patients to avoid using the areas of the knee joint affected.
Prophylactic – the most common type of knee brace for athletes. High-risk or injury-prone individuals may also need to wear this brace for support.
This type of brace prevents things like ligamentous injuries, which are most common among all knee injuries.
Does Medicare Cover Foot Braces?
Does Medicare Cover Shoulder Braces?
Does Medicare Cover Neck Braces?
Neck braces may include cervical collars or other neck supporting devices. Cervical traction collars are the exception. Currently, Medicare doesn’t pay for these devices. Cervical collars may be either soft or hard. Soft collars are more comfortable; typically, these braces are made of foam, felt, or rubber.
Hard neck supports may keep the head and neck completely still. After invasive surgery or severe neck injury, your doctor may prescribe hard neck support. Soft braces are best following a less strict procedure – for only a few hours each day.