Medicare covers a wide range of treatments to slow the progression of rheumatoid arthritis and help with its symptoms. Rheumatoid arthritis treatments can be costly, even with Medicare. If you don’t have supplemental coverage, you may pay thousands of dollars. In this context, we’ll discuss which parts of Medicare will cover Rheumatoid Arthritis treatments.
Does Medicare Cover Rheumatoid Arthritis
In general, Medicare covers the necessary treatments. But the way it’s covered will depend on the type of care you receive. Part A covers services, procedures, and drugs you receive as an inpatient at a hospital.
For Rheumatoid Arthritis patients, this might include joint replacement surgery or treatment for other medical conditions that develop. Part B covers infusions, outpatient surgeries, physical therapy, and other treatments for Rheumatoid Arthritis. But, you’ll pay a portion of the cost.
Part D covers the prescriptions you take at home, including prescription injections. If you have Medicare Advantage, your coverage will be at least as good as Medicare. But your copays and other costs may be different. Many Medicare Advantage plans have prescription coverage built-in.
Biologic Drugs for Rheumatoid Arthritis in the Medicare Program
Does Medicare Cover Enbrel?
Enbrel (etanercept) is a biologic DMARD that belongs to a class of drugs known as TNF inhibitors. If your doctor prescribes Enbrel, you’ll inject yourself weekly. Because you take Enbrel at home, it falls under Part D. According to Enbrel’s website, the medication’s list price is $1,389 per week for a 50 mg dose.
Although Enbrel offers a copay card to help reduce costs. It claims that 76% end up costing less than $50 a month, while the other 24% cost $469 a month. The amount you pay depends on the specifics of your prescription plan. If you have a limited income, you may qualify for extra help with prescription costs.
Does Medicare Cover Orencia infusions?
Orencia (abatacept) is also a biologic DMARD; it’s available as an infusion or an injection. If you have an infusion, your doctor will administer the drug through a vein in your arm. Because you obtain infusions outside the home, Part B covers them. If you have a Medigap plan, it may pay the coinsurance costs.
The sticker price for one Orencia infusion is $3,527, but the manufacturer says Medicare patients pay from $0 to $705. With only Medicare, costs may be high. But if you have a Medicare Supplement, costs may be lower. If you have Medicare Advantage, your cost will depend on your plan.
If you take Orencia injections at home, the medication falls under Part D. Your benefits will depend on the kind of plan you have. You could pay as much as $1,500 a month. But, Orencia’s website says more than 80% of Medicare patients pay $25 or less per month.