Does Medicare Cover Vertigo?
Medicare Benefits Solutions
Aug 18, 2020
If you have ever experienced sudden, random bouts of dizziness and feelings of the room spinning around you, there is a possibility that you may be suffering from vertigo. Vertigo affects nearly 40 percent of American adults at some point in their lifetime, which means that there is a good chance you may experience it at some point as well. If it occurs often and the effects are severe enough, you may decide that treatment is necessary. Depending on the specific causes and necessary treatments, Medicare insurance may provide some coverage for your vertigo diagnosis and treatment.
What is Vertigo and What Causes It?
The technical term for this condition is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. The specific characteristics you may experience vary from person to person and are a result of the disruption of the communication between the brain and the inner ear, which is responsible for maintaining balance.
Difficulty with balance is the most common symptom, and it can be accompanied by feelings of dizziness and the room around you spinning. You may also feel disoriented and the sensation of falling or impulse to fall. Nausea, along with other issues, may also accompany these symptoms.
There are a variety of causes that can precipitate vertigo. The most common is when tiny calcium carbonate crystals that reside in the inner ear break loose and travel into the semicircular canals in the ear. When the crystals are loose, they can be shifted easily upon certain movements. This shifting then results in feelings of vertigo.
Some of the things that can cause these crystals to dislodge can include head trauma, inner ear infections, inner ear irregularities, low blood pressure, and reactions to medications. In addition, vertigo can also be caused by migraines, eye muscle spasms, allergies, genetic diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, and other chronic conditions.
Vertigo is diagnosed through a number of different tests. The Romberg test evaluates your balance and requires you to stand with your feet close together and eyes closed. Your physician may also perform the Fukuda-Unterberger test. This test measures balance and involves marching in place with your eyes closed.
Eye movement tests can also be used to diagnose vertigo. The Dix-Hallpike test observes your eye movement as you lay down and quickly tilt your head to the right or left. The head thrust test can also be used. During this test, you will look at the physician’s nose as they move their head quickly from side to side. While they do this, they will observe your eye movements.
Vertigo Treatment Options
Treatment options vary significantly from person to person. If your vertigo is a result of medication side effects or reactions, the most common and effective option is to switch medications if possible. When switching medications is not possible, treatment generally focuses on symptom management, such as anti-nausea medications. Other medications may be used to control your blood pressure, limit anxiety, decrease migraines, and more.
If an ear infection or nerve issue is the cause of vertigo, antibiotics or surgery may be needed to correct the underlying issue. If you have loose crystals in the inner ear, certain exercises may be needed to help reposition the crystals and improve inner ear functionality.
Does Medicare Coverage include Vertigo?
Because of the many diagnostic and treatment options, there is a good chance that your Medicare Part B insurance will cover a portion of the associated costs. If you do want your Medicare coverage to assist with the costs of vertigo treatment, it is critical to ensure you visit a Medicare-approved facility and a physician who accepts assignment. If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll likely need to visit a doctor within the plan’s network to get coverage for medical care and services.
If you are formally admitted to the hospital or require surgery, your Medicare Part A coverage will help cover the costs. If you receive treatment on an outpatient basis, Medicare Part B will provide coverage. If your treatment requires medication, having a Part D plan or a Medicare Advantage plan with drug coverage can assist in reducing out-of-pocket costs for certain prescription drugs.
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