High blood pressure, medically known as hypertension, is an unwanted condition that can cause damage to the body, lead to serious illnesses like a heart attack or stroke, and can even cause death if it isn’t treated.
Most people who have high blood pressure don’t have any symptoms and don’t even realize they have it – that’s why it’s often called a “silent disease”. Other people can experience symptoms like headache, shortness of breath, severe anxiety, nosebleeds, and feeling pulsations in the neck or head.
Along with heart disease and stroke, untreated hypertension can cause complications such as:
- A buildup of fluid in the lungs
- Loss of vision
- Damage to kidneys
- Erectile dysfunction
- Loss of memory
Fortunately, you can easily check and monitor your blood pressure at home by yourself. Home blood pressure monitors are easy to use and convenient. While you’re watching TV in the evening, you can slip on the pressure cuff, push a button, and see what your blood pressure is.
But remember, even if you monitor your blood pressure at home, you should have it checked regularly by your health care provider. If your health care provider finds that you have hypertension, she can give you tips about lifestyle changes or prescribe medication to help keep it under control.
Does Medicare cover blood pressure monitors?
As of now, Original Medicare Part B (medical insurance) doesn’t cover blood pressure monitors that you can use at home. However, if you’re an inpatient in a Medicare-affiliated hospital, Original Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) covers blood pressure monitoring if it’s part of the treatment and care plan ordered by your physician.
It’s also important to remember that Medicare Part B covers routine, preventive care blood pressure checks in your health care provider’s office if the doctor accepts Medicare assignment.
If you have a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan, your provider must cover, at minimum, all the benefits covered by Original Medicare Parts A and B. Many Part C plans also offer extra benefits like routine vision, hearing, and dental care; and most plans also include prescription drug coverage.
Today, more and more Medicare Advantage plans are also offering beneficiaries a monthly over-the-counter allowance. This allowance is typically added to a pre-paid credit card giving enrollees a certain amount of money that they can spend at specific pharmacies included in the plan’s network of providers.
The amount of the allowance and the products you can purchase with your pre-paid allowance card vary from plan to plan. But there are many plans that allow beneficiaries to purchase products for home diagnostics like blood pressure monitors.
If your Medicare Advantage plan has a monthly allowance for over-the-counter pharmacy purchases, you may have received a catalog or list of items you can purchase. But if you aren’t sure what is allowed, you should call your provider to find out before you make a purchase.
How much do blood pressure monitors cost without Medicare coverage?
There are hundreds of blood pressure monitors available on the market today. What you pay for one depends on the type and quality of the monitor as well as where you purchase it. On average, hypertension monitors range between $20.00 and $180.00, but you can get a reliable and easy-to-use home blood pressure monitor for $30.00 to $60.00 at any neighborhood pharmacy or through an online outlet.