Top Tips for Finding the Right Medicare Geriatric Doctor
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As you age, your healthcare needs change, and you may find that your primary care physician lacks the time and expertise to help you resolve age-related issues with a focus on overall well-being. A geriatrician is a medical doctor specializing in the branch of medicine dealing with conditions and concerns common to older adults.
Medicare covers geriatric doctors participating in the Medicare program who accept assignment. Find out how doctors can work with Medicare to provide geriatric care coverage.
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Does Medicare Cover Geriatric Doctors?
Geriatric care is a recognized field and one of many specialties that Medicare covers. Geriatrics was an area of expertise that emerged in the 1940s to help older adults through patient-focused care to enhance health, independent living and quality of life. Today, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) boasts a membership of almost 6,000 geriatrics professionals.
Having a good working relationship with your physician at any age can improve your overall wellness. Regular checkups, along with an understanding of your health history, can help a physician diagnose any potential medical issues that may arise. Patients who have a good rapport with their doctor are also more likely to take advantage of wellness visits and preventive services.
If you’ve reached your senior years and are looking for a doctor, you may want to consider seeing one who has expertise in conditions or issues associated with aging. A geriatric doctor may be the solution you’re looking for.
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How Can My Geriatric Doctor Work with Medicare?
With Medicare available to any U.S. resident 65 years of age or older, a geriatric doctor would be familiar with Medicare coverage. If you are under 65 and haven’t already enrolled in Medicare due to a qualifying disability, you’ll be eligible for Medicare at 65. Most people get Part A (hospital insurance) automatically and premium free due to taxes paid while working. Part B (medical insurance) is optional, but most people enroll when they’re first eligible.
Part B covers outpatient services, including doctor visits with a geriatric physician. If you have Original Medicare, you can visit any doctor who accepts Medicare assignment. As an alternative, you can get your Part A and Part B benefits through a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan. Some MA plans may require you to visit a geriatric doctor within the plan’s network.
How Do I Find Geriatric Doctors That Accept Medicare Near Me?
Here are five approaches to finding Medicare geriatric doctors near you:
- Go to Compare.medicarebenefits.com, and use the plan finder search tool to find Medicare-participating doctors by specialty and location.
- Ask your current primary care physician for a referral.
- Check with friends and neighbors for their recommendations.
- Browse the Health in Aging online directory of AGS members.
- Go to the HealthGrades website, and search for your location under the category of geriatric medicine.
How to Find Geriatric Doctors That Accept Medicare Advantage?
If you have Medicare Advantage, refer to your provider directory or search online through your plan’s website. Contact the geriatricians you select, and confirm they still participate in your Medicare Advantage plan. If you use a doctor in-network, you can reduce your out-of-pocket costs.
If your preferred doctor does not take your insurance, explore other Medicare plans in your area. Using an online plan finder is an easy way to start exploring alternatives to your current plan. If you need assistance, you can speak with an independent, licensed sales agent who can help you find the plan that’s right for you.
TIP: Discover 7 reasons why people switch Medicare Advantage plans.
What Does a Geriatric Specialist Do?
Geriatricians are primary care physicians focused on diseases, disorders and disabilities common to an aging population. Similar to a holistic doctor, their primary concern is your overall well-being.
It helps to have a doctor that appreciates the big picture with an understanding of how nutrition, family, community support and mental health impact your joy of life and ability to function independently.
Geriatricians are specialists in aging and treat a variety of issues affecting older patients including:
- Heart disease
- Balance problems
- Hearing and vision loss
- Alzheimer’s and dementia
- Parkinson’s disease
As part of a proactive plan, a geriatric doctor can coordinate with and provide guidance to occupational therapists, social workers, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, mental health professionals, home health aides and other caregivers. They may practice in private practice, group practices, nursing homes, clinics, skilled nursing facilities and hospitals.
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