Does Medicare Cover Morphine?

By Medicare Benefits - July 28, 2020

Pain can be difficult to deal with, and it can be brought on for a number of different medical reasons. Pain can occur suddenly and disappear within a few minutes or hours, or it can be constant and chronic. There are many different pain medications available to help reduce inflammation and disrupt pain signals in neurons throughout the body. Morphine is a common pain reliever that has significant pain-relieving effects. Medicare Part A, Part B, Part D, and Medicare Advantage Plans can all provide coverage for morphine depending on the location and reason you receive the medication.

Medicare coverage for morphine

Original Medicare is composed of Part A and Part B. Part A is associated with inpatient visits to a hospital, skilled nursing facility, or hospice. If you must stay in a hospital, hospice facility, or skilled nursing facility and you receive morphine during your visit, Part A will cover the costs. The most common way these medications are provided in this setting are through an IV or an intramuscular injection.

If you receive morphine during an outpatient visit, Part B will likely help cover the costs. Outpatient administration is often via the same routes as inpatient, namely intravenously or intramuscularly with an injection. Receiving morphine in either of these settings may allow higher dosages to be used due to the medical supervision that is being provided. 

For both Medicare Part A and Part B coverage, you will be required to pay any deductibles, coinsurance costs, or copayments. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you are guaranteed to have equal or greater benefits than Original Medicare; however, you will likely have different out-of-pocket costs depending on your specific plan.

Another option to gain coverage for morphine is through Medicare Part D through a stand-alone drug plan if you have Original Medicare or with a Medicare Advantage Plan that includes drug coverage. These plans are designed to cover prescription medications you need to take at home.

The most common morphine prescriptions taken at home are oral medications, either in the form of liquids or pills. These formulas can be made to be either short term or extended release. Morphine prescriptions may be associated with certain out-of-pocket costs as well, and they also may require certain limitations regarding dosage and approved pharmacies.

What is Morphine?

Morphine is an opioid analgesic medication and is also known as a narcotic. This drug is used to treat moderate to severe pain, and it comes in both short- and extended-release forms to allow for pain to be managed through all hours of the day. 

Morphine acts on the central nervous system by disrupting pain signals traveling from various points of the body to the spinal cord and then to the brain. Altering the pain signals decreases the body’s pain response and alleviates discomfort.

This drug is highly potent and effective, which caused the World Health Organization to add morphine to the List of Essential Medicines. Morphine is tightly regulated regarding dosages, amounts, and availability, but it is both a safe and effective medication used by many individuals.

There are a variety of brand names that this drug may be sold under, and the various derivates can be taken orally, intravenously, or via intramuscular injection. Depending on the dosage and route, the effects of morphine can last from between four and 24 hours.

Risks of Using Morphine

Morphine is a classified as a schedule II drug, which means that while it does have significant medical benefits, it also has a high potential for abuse. This abuse can then lead to both physical and psychological dependence. If this drug is abused, it can lead to overdose or other health complications.

This drug works as a central nervous system depressant, which helps to reduce pain. However, depressing the central nervous system can result in several other side effects as well, including decreased respiratory and heart rate and slowed digestion resulting in constipation. Other side effects can include nausea, vomiting, lightheadedness, dizziness, drowsiness, sweating, dry mouth, and others.

If you are prescribed morphine, follow the dosage and directions according to your physician’s orders and call your doctor immediately if you experience any concerning side effects.

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